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Full text of "The Cossacks of the Ukraine; comprising biographical notices of the most celebrated Cossack chiefs ... With a memoir of Princess Tarakanof, and some particulars respecting Catharine II., of Russia, and her favourites"

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Cl^c nujgt «lebrateU CoiS^acfe €^ti^ or ^{ttamans, 













Author of "Vitold;" "The Poles in the Seventeenth Century;" 
" Gonta, an Historical Drama,-" <fec. 














The history of the Cossacks of the Ukraine 
has such a strong connexion with the history of Poland, 
and the history of the Ottoman empire, that it shows 
most clearly that both these countries had for ages, and 
have even now, but one common enemy ; — an enemy 
which, under the plea of friendship, has never ceased to 
weaken indirectly the resources of Turkey, to under- 
mine her vital strength, and to lay such artful snares 
for the taking of Constantinople, that had not all the 
movements of Russia been closely watched by your 
Imperial Majesty's illustrious father of glorious 
memory, Sultan Mahmoud, had she not been foiled in 
all her schemes on Turkey in 1840, by the great energy 
and extraordinary sagacity of the Right Honourable 
Viscount Palmerston, one of the greatest statesmen of 
his age, she might have inflicted the deepest injury on 
your Imperial Majesty's dominions. 

A 2 


For the above reasons, and considering that 
your Imperial Majesty is animated with the best 
possible feelings towards her most gracious Majesty, 
Victoria I., Queen of Great Britain, whom I can now 
in my heart call my own sovereign ; considering, more- 
over, that one of my ancestors, who belonged to the 
Confederation of Bar, was most hospitably received 
on the Turkish soil, and, that he- recommended, on his 
death bed, his Mends always to be grateful to the 
Turks ; I therefore hope that it may please your Impe- 
rial Majesty to accept the dedication of my work 
on the Cossacks, which I venture to lay at the 
foot of your Imperial Majesty's august throne, as 
a small token of my regard for your Imperial Ma- 
jesty's qualities and virtues, and my ardent wishes for 
your Imperial Majesty's health, and the prosperity 
of the Turkish empire. 

I have the honour to remain. 

Your Imperial Majesty's 

Most humble and devoted Servant, 


London, I5ih October, 1848. 


There are two kind of authors, one who foster some 
predominating view with their pen, the other, who 
use it chiefly as an instrument for securing their per- 
sonal advantages. I claim a place, however humble, in 
the former category. 

Ever intent on the contemplation of the ancient 
glory of Poland, whose history and politics are familiar 
to me, because they have seldom ceased to be the 
special object of my researches and persevering study, 
I am always anxious to attract the reflecting readers 
attention to that which engrosses my own thoughts ; 
namely, how it is possible to humble Russia, to restore 
Poland as a nation, and to increase the salutary influence 
abroad, and the prosperity at home, of Great Britain. 
Hence, all that I have ever written in Polish, French, 
or English, has been historical in character, anti- 
Russian in sentiment, and consequently exclusively 
favourable to Poland and England. Having spent 
some of my boyish years in the secluded regions of the 
Polish Ukraine ; and having, at a later period, often 


inhabited and visited, north and south, the most dreary 
parts of ancient Poland ; having always been passion- 
ately fond of shooting, and lived occasionally for days, 
even in winter, in the open air, I naturally acquired 
(though I have never been in America), something 
of the habits of a North American hunter, and may 
be almost considered as a child of the desert. Indeed, 
though I lived for years at Warsaw and Paris, stayed 
often even in London, yet, however partial at times I 
might have been to polite society, I could never shake 
off completely my early recollections, nor forget the 
effect produced on my youthful and naturally enthu- 
siastic mind, by the soaring of eagles, the neighing of the 
herds of wild horses, the howling of ravenous wolves, 
and the harmonious winds of the Steppes. To this may 
be attributed the facility with which I occasionally d ^- 
scribe some of the fiercer passions of the human heart, 
and my partiality in fostering in my publications 
subjects, more connected with the history of my own 
country, than with other countries, and consequently 
more congenial with the branch of politics to which I 
devoted my attention. To the abovenamed early 
recollection may be also ascribed, that the outpourings 
of my pen bear rather an impress of romantic wild- 
ness than that of too refined civilization. But if I 
sacrifice elegance to energy in my writings, it will, I 
think, be admitted, that I have a noble object in view. 
Without being for an instant deceived by the artfully 
concealed aim of panslavism, which with all its fine 


words, crafty sophisms, and childish arguments, intends 
nothing more than to dismember Turkey and Austria, 
to erase Poland from the map of nations, to disturb 
the balance of power, to check British commerce and 
British influence in the south-east of Europe, as well as 
in Egypt and Persia, and to endanger the British com- 
munications with India for ever in favour of Bussia. 
Thoroughly convinced that nothing short of the com- 
plete independence of Poland, on a liberal scale, and 
the rigid preservation of the Ottoman empire, can save 
Europe from north-eastern invasion, and permanently 
guarantee the blessings of peace and progressive 
improvement all over the world. I have boldly 
pointed attention to what I deem the weakest, and 
therefore the most vulnerable, part of Russia. 
>• To those who, having never exposed their heads to 
the Russian bullets, advised the Poles to submit 
blindly to Russia, as well as to those who, without 
the slightest knowledge of Polish history, past or 
present, became suddenly authors of political pamphlets, 
and from various motives (no doubt favourable to their 
private interests), now preach the same doctrine among 
the Poles, I beg to answer, that in proportion to the 
increasing danger with which Russia was occasionally 
threatened by numerous wars and political commotions 
in Europe, she always flattered Poland, and tried, with 
crafty and seasonable insinuations, to gain the confidence 
of the Poles. So did Catherine 11. before the partition 
of Poland ; so did the Emperor Paul I. ; so did Alex- 


ander in 1807, 1812, and 1815 ; so did the Emperor 
Nicholas in 1829, and does now — and while I admit 
that the hatred that exists between Russia and Poland 
for ages, is entirely of a political nature, and can cease 
under proper circumstances — I by no means admit 
blind submission to E-ussia as beneficial to the Poles, 
especially in the present unsettled state of Europe. If, 
however, Russia will give up part, at least, of her 
Polish provinces ; if she will restore all the confiscated 
property of the Poles, recal from abroad and Siberia all 
the Polish political exiles, if she will withdraw her 
armies from Poland, re-establish the constitutional king- 
dom of Poland, proclaim either his Imperial Highness 
the Grand Due Michel, or his Imperial Highness the 
Duke of Leichtenberg, or any other personage whom 
she may think proper, as the future king of Poland, and 
allow the formation of a purely national Polish army, 
under the command of Chlopicki, Skrzynecki, Uminski, 
Dwernicki, Bern, or Rozycki, as the safest guarantee of 
keeping her promise, then a permanent peace between 
Russia and Poland is possible, and Poland, though 
oppressed for ages, and who had, and still has such a 
strong claim to the gratitude of civilized Europe, may 
consider Russia as her sister, improve her morality, 
keep pace with the march of constitutional freedom, and 
drown in oblivion her Tartaro-Calmuck pranfe?? but 
without the fulfilment of a great part of the above- 
named guarantee, the friendly dispositions of Russia 
towards Poland is too great a mockery, and cannot 


possibly deceive any man who has one single grain 
of common sense. 

The denationalizing of Poland for many reasons is 
impossible, and if Russia will not give up Poland volun- 
tarily, that kingdom will be wrested from her sooner or 
later. Poland was conquered, temporarily, because 
she was a republic ; had she been a regular kingdom, 
she would never have become the prey of her neigh- 
bours. Should all Europe become a republic (which is 
very doubtful), Poland might accept the form of re- 
publican government; but even then, Poland would 
be the last of all the European nations where the 
republican government can work well. Whoever has 
a practical knowledge of all the parts of Poland, 
must be well aware, that a king is as necessary to the 
future well-being of Poland, as the mother's milk to 
the existence of a child. 

Having, after a mature consideration, formed my own 
opinion on the Polish question (though at variance with 
the generaUty of the Poles of two opposite parties), I 
am convinced, that neither any advocate of the wild 
democracy, nor any man notoriously connected with the 
last Polish insurrection in 1831, can ever rule Poland; 
but any talented and energetic man (unconnected with 
either party), whom circumstances or European 
diplomacy may favour, can rule that kingdom, and 
soothe all its internal animosities. Considering that 
true liberty, which is spoken of everywhere, does 
not exist but in England ; considering that all dispas- 


sionate men, who have resided some years in England, 
agree that British institutions are superior to all 
others without exception; that the British govern- 
ment is the best in the world; considering that 
dethroned kings, expelled dukes, illustrious princes, 
fallen ministers of various shades ; considering that 
even such contrasts as Metternich and Louis Blanc, 
with swarms of persecuted chiefs, sectarians, exiles, 
from all parts of the world, find shelter in England, 
where their persons are safe, their creed respected, 
their property protected ; considering that parties 
are so well balanced in England that none of them 
can oppress each other; considering that England 
expended twenty-five millions for liberating the slaves ; 
considering that British sailors and soldiers, without 
much noise, under Nelson, Wellington, Harding, 
Napier, Edwardes, never showed their backs to the 
enemy, and conquered all nations; considering that 
there is no better climate for longevity than in 
England; nowhere are to be found fairer, or more 
virtuous women than in England ; it must be acknow- 
ledged, without speaking of British superiority in 
every branch of science and literature, that as long 
as she shall reasonably protect the Established church, 
and produce such political giants as Lansdown, Pal- 
merston, Russell, Peel, and Graham, who, under the 
most trying circumstances governed her realms with ex- 
traordinary firmness, prudence, and foresight, and give 
at the same time fairly an example of all domestic 


virtues, England, firm like a rock amidst the raging 
political storms, will always be the real queen of the 
world; and, therefore, I cannot but imagine that 
nothing could be more advantageous to Poland (in 
the event of the restoration of that country), than 
that a British nobleman should become the future 
king of Poland. But should no British noble be 
induced to ascend the throne of Poland— and my 
earnest hope thus remain ungratified — his place might 
then be supplied by one of the princes Esterhazy, or 
by a Swedish, Servian, German, Italian, or any other 
foreign prince. 

By propagating such an opinion, I offended some in- 
fluential individuals, who never forgave me, and find- 
ing it impossible to alter my feelings in their favour, 
knowing some of my weaknesses, as also various difii- 
culties in which I have necessarily been involved as an 
exile, they have indirectly inflicted great injury upon 
my prospects in England. I was exposed, not only to 
annoyances, but to artfully propagated slander, un- 
worthy even of an answer. Let them remember that 
noble blood flows in my veins, and that no offers, how- 
ever tempting, can bribe me, and though, in conse- 
quence of crafty intrigues, some publications have 
been directed against me in various languages, it will 
ultimately rather tend to serve than to injure me. 
Confident in the purity of my intentions, and in the 
soundness of my political intellect, I shall fight my own 
battle, like the worthy British Missionaries who spread 


in all parts of the world, amid raging storms, the 
blessings of the Gospel. 

Three years ago, during my stay at Richmond, in 
Yorkshire, I compiled a regular history of the Polish 
Cossacks, which I properly corrected in the British 
Museum ; but having neither literary acquaintances, 
nor available means of publishing it, and being more 
thwarted than encouraged in my literary exertions, I 
was twice obliged to curtail it, and so leave unpublished, 
perhaps, the most interesting part of it. "Whoever is an 
author, must admit that there is nothing more un- 
pleasant than to condense and completely re-model 
historical subjects, after they have been once prepared 
and matured for the press. 

In my present work on the Cossacks, I describe 
their piratical expeditions into Turkey, and sketch their 
dangerous rebellion (fostered by Russia) in Poland, 
under Chmielnicki, Zelezniak, and Gonta ; and not less 
formidable rebellions in Russia, under Stenko Razin, 
Mazeppa, and Pugatchef, which rebellions cost Russia 
nearly a million of human beings, and shook that 
empire to its very foundation, and even to this time 
has not only impaired its whole strength, but ren- 
dered its continued existence a mysterious problem. 
Having further described all the branches of the 
Polish Cossacks, with their most noted chiefs, from 
almost the beginning of their political existence till 
our time, I then unveil many interesing facts re- 
specting Catherine II., as connected with Poland, 


and give a short account of her lovers and the 
victims of her hatred, as also the various diabolical 
intrigues for which she was so infamously celebrated. 
I conclude the work with a statistical, historical, 
and geographical description of the Ukraine, from 
time immemorial the land of unbridled passions, 
poetry, and romance, and the source from which 
the genius of Byron d-rew the material of his poem of 

Some of the notes are written in the form of 
memoirs, and will be found full of interest. The 
anecdotes on Prince Pashkievich and Countess Cordule 
Fredro, are peculiar and characteristic. Many curious 
customs of the dreariest parts of Poland are mentioned. 
The dark shade of the Ukrainian poetry, and the 
singular adventures of the principal Ukranian poets 
are faithfully described. The music to be found at the 
end of the book may be attractive to the fairer portion 
of my readers. 

In the life of Pugatchef, following blindly a written 
document, I committed, unintentionally, an historical 
error, which I am anxious to correct. It was not the 
Russian general Tchernishef, but the Russian general 
Carr, who was first vanquished by Pugatchef. 

The whole work, though very imperfectly written in 
English, may yet prove interesting alike to the histo- 
rical student and the general reader, if they wiU but 
consider the importance of the subject rather than its 
style of composition. 


A small part of this work I have already written in 
French, those who wish to translate it into Italian, 
Spanish, and German, will not, probably, take ad- 
vantage of a Polish exile, and may readily make 
terms for publication. In any written communication 
with me, it is necessary to put distinctly my christian 
name, Henry, on the address, to prevent mistakes, 
which has on more than one occasion exposed me to 
great annoyances. 



Chapter L — The Polish Cossacks 1 

n.— Kebellion of Stenko Razin 57 

nL— The Zaporogues 74 

rV.— Mazeppa 92 

v.— Zelezniak 105 

VL— Gonta 117 

Vn.— Sava 134 

VIIL— Rozycki 141 

IX.— Prmcess Tarakanof 163 

X.— Catherine II., and her Favourites . . .178 

XL— RebeUion of Pugatchef 186 

Xn.— Description of the Ukraine . . . .224 

Notes 275 








C Origin of the Cossacksz-Perivation of the Nam^ Invasion of 
BatuEhan — 'ihe Tatars— Pifferen^TietweiBn Eiissian and Polish 
Cossacks— The Cossacks of the Don— Their Arms and Mode of 
Warfare— The first Chief of the Cossacks of the Dnieper— Union 
of the Cossacks with Poland — Batory — His Policy respecting the 
Cossacks— Their Incursions— Boats— Cruises on the Black Sea — 
Dissensions between the Cossacks and the Poles — Revolt of the 
Cossacks— Their Defeat — Sahaydatchny — Dechne of the Cossacks 
—History of Khmielnitski — Andrew Firley — His Defence of 
Zbaraz— Horrors of the Siege —The friendly Arrow— Battle of 
Zhorof— Convention of Khmielnitski with the Poles — His treacher- 
ous conduct — Deliverance of Khmielnitski — His Invasion of Mol- 
davia—Battle of Beresteczko — Defection of Khmielnitski — The 
Convention with Russia— The two wild Bulls— The dying words 
of Khmielnitski. 

The immense solitudes which spread between the 
Volga, the Don, and the Dnieper, between the Caspian 
Sea and the Black Sea, appear to have been, from time 
immemorial, the fatherland of those wandering nations 
and barbarian hordes who, subsisting by rapine and 


pillage, thundered down upon civilized Europe like an 
avalanche ; leaving in the rear of their destructive and 
fearful track nought save carnage, conflagration, ruin, 
and despair. 

Confounded and intermixed, as regards their origin, 
the one with the other, these predatory tribes have 
passed, ever since the ancient Scythians, under different 
names; but all bear one peculiar, distinctive, and 
forcibly -impressed character, both individually and in 
common, too indelil?le to be either obliterated or mis- 
taken: whii&t the general resemblance observable 
amongst them is so decided and striking, as to preclude 
their being confounded with any other races ; notwith- 
standing that a few varying shades in individual 
character, attributable to slight diiferences or modifi- 
cations of general climate — the moral results of suc- 
cessful or of unsuccessful wars — and other accidental 
circumstances influencing the destiny of so numerous 
and widely- extended a race of barbarian adventurers, 
may have caused some disparity in the general features 
of resemblance otherwise recognizable among them. 

The origin of the Cossack tribes is lost in the 
obscurity of ages ; and many celebrated historians are 
still divided in opinion as to whence the term Cossack, 
or rather Kosaque, is properly to be derived. This 
word, indeed, is susceptible of so many etymological 
explanations, as scarcely to offer for any one of them 
decided grounds of preference. Everything, however, 
would seem to favour the beKef that the word Cossack, 


or Kosaque, was in much earlier use in the vicinity ^^ 
of the Caucasus than in the Ukraine.* 

It is possible that the Kotzagery and the Kosarts may 
claim some sort of affinity with the primitive ancestors 
of the ancient Kosaques, with whom they are occasion- 
ally confounded ; nevertheless, it is not until long after- 
wards, that the Pelooses or the Komans can be reason- 
ably considered as the true stock of the Kosaque race, 
from whom the Mamelukes also derive their origin. 
Sherer, in his " Annals of Russia Minor/' (La Petite 
Russicj) traces back the origin of the Cossacks to the 
ninth century ; but he does not support his assertion 
by any facts clothed with the dignity of historical truth. 
It appears certain, however, that the vast pasture lands 
between the Don and the Dnieper, the country lying on 
the south of Kiow, and traversed by the Dnieper up 
to the Black Sea, was the principal birthplace of the 

When, in 1242, Batukhan'' came with five hundred 
thousand men to take possession of the empire which 
feU to his share of the vast inheritance left by Tchingis V 
Khan, he extirpated many nations and displaced many 
others. One portion of the Komans flying from the 
horrors of this '^terrific storm, and arriving on the bor- 
ders of the Caspian Sea, on the banks of the la'ik, (now 
Ouralsek,) turned to the left, and took refuge between 
the embouchures of that river, where they dwelt in 
small numbers, apart from their brethren, in a less fer- 
tile climate. These were, incontestably, the progeni- 


tors of the Cossacks of the laik, who are, historically^ 
scarcely important enough for notice ; and who;, obscure 
and ignoble, were supported chiefly from the produce 
of their fisheries, and the plunder acquired during 
their predatory excursions. In religion they were 
rather idolaters than Christians. 

At the approach of this formidable invasion towards 
the Don, that portion of the Komans located on the 
left bank took refuge in the marshes, and in the 
numerous islands formed by that river near its em- 
bouchure. Here they found a secure retreat ; and 
from thence, having, from their new position, acquired 
maritime habits and seafaring experience, they not 
only, themselves, resorted to piracy as a means of 
existence, but likewise enlisted in a formidable con- 
federacy, for purposes of rapine and pillage, all the 
roving and discontented tribes in their surrounding 
neighbourhood. These latter were very numerous. 
The Tatars, ever but indiflferent seamen, had not 
the courage to join them in these piratical expeditions. 
This division of the Komans is indubitably the parent- 
stock of the modern Cossacks of the Don, by far the 
most numerous of the Cossack tribes: by amalgamation, 
however, with whole hosts of Tatar and Calmuck 
hordes, lawless, desperate, and nomadic as themselves, 
they lost, in some degree, the primitive and deeply- 
marked distinctive character of their race. 

The Komans of the Dnieper offered no more ener- 
getic resistance to the invading hordes of Batukhan 


than had been shown by their brethren of the Don : 
they dispersed in various directions; and from this 
people, flying at the advance of the ferocious Tatars, 
descended a variety of hordes, who occasionally figure 
in history as distinct and independent nations. Some 
of them hastened to implore the hospitality of Bella 
IV., king of Hungaria: they made their appearance 
as supplicants for his protection ; lands were distributed 
to them, a chief assigned as their ruler, and efiTorts 
were made to polish and soften down their rude and 
ferocious manners. As long as the danger lasted, 
they remained quiet ; but, after a while, incapable of 
subjection to the yoke of a calm and peaceful existence, 
they broke out into open revolt, massacred the chief 
who had been set over them; and resumed their 
former life of rapine and pillage. Being consequently 
attacked with considerable forces, they were defeated 
and pursued with great virulence; and ultimately 
found a permanent resting-place in the wild islets of 
the Dnieper, below the cataracts, where dwelt already 
a small number of their ancient compatriots, who had 
escaped the general destruction of their nation. This 
spot became the cradle of the Cossacks of the Ukraine, 
or of the tribes known in after times as the Polish 

When Guedjmum, Grand Duke of Lithuania, after 
having defeated twelve Russian princes on the banks 
of the Pierna, conquered Kiow with its dependencies, 
in 1320, the wandering tribes scattered over the 


steppes of the Ukraine owned his allegiance. After 
the victories of Olgierd, of Vitold, and of Ladislas 
lagellon, over the Tatars and the Russians, large 
bodies of Scythian militia, known subsequently by the 
comprehensive denomination of Cossacks, or Kosaques, 
served under these conquerors: and after the union 
of -the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with Poland, in 1386, 
they'continued under the dominion of the grand dukes 
of Lithuania, forming, apparently, an intermediate 
tribe or caste, superior to the peasantry and inferior 
to the nobles. At a later period, when the Ukraine 
was annexed to the Polish crown, they passed under 
the protection of the kings of Poland. Kazimir lagellon 
had in his service a body of these troops, forming a 
kind of militia, dressed in English woollen cloth.'' We 
cannot, therefore, assign to the Cossacks a Russian 
origin, without rejecting the authority of a series of 
historical documents, the veracity and genuine character 
of which are indisputable. The similarity of their lan- 
guage to that of the Slavonic races ; and, as regards 
religion, their profession of the Greek faith, may be 
easily explained and accounted for. Located in the 
immediate neighbourhood of the Slavonic nations, they 
have adopted the idiom of the latter : in nearly equal 
proximity to the Greeks, they embraced that religion, 
probably at a much earlier period than did the Rus- 

To give, in the present work, a detailed account of 
all the Cossack tribes, and to describe the various 


points of difference formerly existing, and which still 
continue to exist, between the Russian and Polish 
Cossacks, would be too wide a digression from the 
main subject of this historical essay : however, as the 
two races in question are still frequently confounded 
together, it may be proper here succinctly to inform 
the reader in what these points of difference appear 
chiefly to consist. 

Although there may, doubtless, exist several species 
or castes of Cossacks, and to whom Russia, in order 
to impose on Europe, is pleased to give as many 
different names, yet there never have been, nor 
will there ever be, properly speaking, more than two 
principal tribes of the Cossack nation, namely, the 
Cossacks of the Don, or Don-Cossacks, and the Cos- 
sacks of the Black Sea, known in ancient times as the ^-/^ 
Polish Cossacks, or Zaporowscy Kozacy. And notwith- 
standing that the Cossacks may have had one common 
origin from the very commencement of their existence as 
a people, it needs to be repeated again that a variety of 
causes, as, for instance, the lapse of time, the mutation of 
events, the disparity of their individual modes of life, 
the changing influence of unforeseen circumstances, the 
modifications of slightly varying climate, or of the soil 
they inhabit, and more especially their fusion or inter- 
mixture with other nations, (the sure and powerful 
source of change, both social and physical), would seem 
to have established a perceptible difference between the 
two principal branches of this singular race of men. 




The Cossacks of the Don long inhabited both shores 
of that river. They are the most numerous : as 
military adjuncts, they are excellent for foraging 
parties, for surprising an enemy, cutting off his 
communications, and pursuing him when defeated. 
They make excellent pioneers ; nor are their services 
less useful in pillaging a country, or in guarding its 
frontiers. They utter most singular cries when in 
pursuit of a retreating foe: their horses, small in make 
but extremely vigorous, and proof to all kinds of 
fatigue, clear all difficulties of the ground, carry their 
riders everywhere with facility, and are, like their 
masters, content with the most meagre fare : indeed, 
there can no be doubt, but that the Cossacks in 
question have rendered signal service to Russia, which, 
ever since the year 1549, has taken them under her 
protection, without, however, the existence of any 
official act, treaty, or stipulation, confirming their sub- 
mission to that power. But sooth to say, these pre- 
tended heroes are, in point of fact, altogether wortliless 
as regular soldiers : the mere aspect of a musket or a 
pistol suffices to disperse them: they never dare charge 
in line, nor can they sustain a charge made upon 
them; so that with a single regiment of regular 
cavalry, one may always successfully attack ten regi- 
ments of Cossacks. In addition to a crooked sabre, a 
very long lance without pennant, and pistols, some few 
amongst them are armed with a long carabine, which 
carries to an almost incredible distance, and the ball of 


which is exceedingly small : this is perhaps their most 
dangerous weapon, and in the use of which they are 
very expert, turning it, mostly, to very good account. 
Occasionally, they feign a sudden retreat ; and when 
they perceive that their pursuers are comparatively 
small in number, they rapidly face about, and become 
the assailants ; this, however, can only happen with an 
inexperiencedbody of troops, totally detached, and who 
are unacquainted with their adversaries' wily mode of 
warfare. The Don-Cossacks especially have always 
stood in extreme dread of the Polish Lancers ; a few 
squadrons of whom put to flight, during the wars of 
Napoleon, many of their entire regiments. The 
Cossack troops but rarely form into squadrons ; they 
even appear to entertain a strong aversion to every 
species of order and discipline ; they never decide an 
action ; but divide in their attack, falling indifferently 
on the van, the flanks, and the rear of an army on its 
march ; hovering around them like a vapoury cloud, 
which from one instant to another alternately aug- 
ments, fades away, or dissipates entirely, again to form 
into shape and to revive with increased density. They 
but seldom make a direct charge in line with their 
cavalry ; but keep constantly pirouetting and prancing 
about, wheeling round, and skirmishing about in every 
possible direction, with astonishing swiftness and 
activity. From the moment of their having taken 
the field for a campaign, they observe no regular 
int^vals of repose, nor stated times for repast; they 



set at nought the inclemency of the weather; and 
rarely does anything escape the vigilance of their 
piercing sight, or the well-trained alertness of their 
acute sense of hearing : pillage is their peculiar /br^ey 
and they are dangerous only to a flying enemy. Once 
dismounted, they lose all their previous activity and 
courage, become altogether useless, and may be easily 

The Don-Cossacks enjoy a certain kind of liberty 
and independence ; they have a hetman^ atiaman^ or 
chief, nominated by the Emperor of Russia ; and to 
this chief they yield an obedience more or less willing 
and implicit ; in general, they are commanded only by 
Cossack officers, who take equal rank in the Russian 
army. They have a separate war administration of 
their own ; although they are compelled to furnish a 
stated number of recruits who serve in a manner for 
life, inasmuch as they are rarely discharged before 
attaining sixty years of age : on the whole, their con- 
dition is happier than that of the rest of the Russian 
population. They belong to the Greek-Russian church. 
The existence of this small republic of the Don, 
in the very heart of the most despotic and most ex- 
tensive empire in the world, appears to constitute a 
problem, the solution of which is not as yet definitively 
known, and the ultimate solution of which yet remains 
to be ascertained. 
\ As for the second branch of the Cossack race, the 
V / remnants, so to speak, of which, namely, Czarnon^cy, 


still exist, and who have not hitherto lost in any- 
material degree the distinctive mark of their origin, 
a wide and striking difference is observable as to 
habits, mode of Ufe, customs, and social peculiarities 
between them and the former class, without however 
impairing the general mutual resemblance which must 
ever continue to characterize the two nations. 

The south-eastern districts of Poland, the Ukraine, 
and Podolia, exposed in former times to the incursions 
of barbarian hordes, were the scenes of eternal strife 
and bloodshed ; but as the soil of this part of Poland is 
the richest and most productive in all Europe, these 
provinces, although constantly ravaged, and frequently 
depopulated, became speedily repeopled, and regained 
their previous state of prosperity ; and this the more 
easily, as these countries principally consist of extensive 
fields, capable of yielding support to a population 
of almost unlimited numbers. In order to impose an 
efficient check to the incursions of the Tatars, the 
WaUachians, and the Kussians, the kings of Poland 
made grants of vast tracts of land on the banks of the 
Dnieper to the Polish nobles, on condition of the 
latter providing for their defence at their own expense 
and charges ; an arrangement which compelled these 
seignorial lords constantly to maintain a certain num- 
ber of armed retainers in their pay, and to construct 
a line of strongholds, or fortified habitations, proof 
against the danger of a sudden attack. The soldiers . 
in their pay were, usually, either the descendants of 


ancient warriors, or of the primitive inhabitants of the 

It is towards the year 1506, after the I'atar wars, 
and in the time of Sigismund I., king of Poland, that 
historians mention, for the first time, a peculiar race of 
men as inhabiting both banks of the Dnieper (then 
nominally appertaining to Poland) , as likewise the large 
and numerous islands formed by the course of that 
river below the cataracts. They are described as half- 
savages, living from the produce of the chase, of their 
fisheries, and of their excursions both by sea and land 
into Turkey ; their numbers were daily increasing by 
the arrival amongst them of deserters, fugitives, and 
adventurers of all kinds and from all countries, seeking 
a refuge from the vengeance of their respectiye laws, 
and anxious to make war on their own account ; and as 
the word Kozah, according to the Tatar translation of 
it, signifies a man slightly armed, a man who belongs 
or owes allegiance to no one, a man who has no fixed 
residence, who despises the conventional forms of 
society, and is ever ready to adventure on break-neck 
enterprises, the class of men in question then received 
for the first time in Poland the denomination of 
Kosaques ; and as za signifies beyond, and porog 
cataract, in the Polish language, they were also called 
" Kosaques beyond the Cataracts," Zaporogscy Kozacy, 
although strictly speaking this term is applicable only 
to the Cossacks actually inhabiting the islands of the 
Dnieper, known under the designation of Zaporogues. 


These latter formed afterwards a kind of aristocracy 
amongst the Cossacks, and must not be confounded 
with the agricultural Cossacks : they were, however, 
the nucleus of the race of Cossacks of the Ukraine, 
and ultimately separated themselves from the main 
body, in order to form a confraternity apart ; retaining, 
up to the last moment of their existence, the primitive 
distinctive mark of their origin. We shall, subse- 
quently, have again to recur to this subject, when 
explaining the word Zaporogue. 

The first chief or attaman of the Cossacks of the 
Ukraine, Polish Cossacks, or Cossacks of the Dnieper, 
(for they are aU three comprised under this denomi- 
nation,) appears to have been Przeclaw Lanckoronski 
(pronounced Pchetslave Lantskoronsqui), staroste de 
Khmielnitza, a Polish noble of very ancient and dis- 
tinguished family. At first the union of the Cossacks 
with Poland (in 1515) was the source of great embar- 
rassment to the latter, seeing that over the vast pasture 
grounds of Podolia, then but nominally belonging to 
Poland, and forming scarcely more than a desert waste, 
the Turks left their herds of cattle to rove at will 
beyond the river Dneister. In so doing, they had never 
yet experienced any hindrance whatever. The Cossacks, 
however, urged by their thirst for rapine, and without 
permission from the Polish government, fell on their 
defenceless neighbours, whom they surrounded on all 
sides, massacred the herdsmen, and seized upon their 
cattle. At the news of this outrage, the Turks passed 


the Dniester, which they then regarded as the limit 
or barrier between the two states, and in their turn 
fell upon the aggressors. The Turks were defeated, 
but returned to the charge, seven times invaded 
Podolia, and set the Tatars upon Poland.^ This was 
afterwards the firuitful source of frequent and cala- 
mitous wars between Turkey and Poland, and between 
the Cossacks and the Tatars ; whereas their true line 
of policy would have been for all to have united for 
mutual self-defence against their common enemy the 

As the Cossacks aided Sigismund I. on his return 
from his Russian expedition to take possession of 
Bialogrod, they thereby insinuated themselves into 
his good graces; and shortly afterwards the Diet of 
Piotrkow (in French, Petrykof) accorded them (in 
1518), by the influence of that prince, a kind of pay 
or subsidy, on condition of their defending the frontiers; 
and it is only from this period that they are officially 
known throughout Poland under the name of Cossacks. 
By a second resolution of the Diet of 1529, both their 
numbers and their pay was somewhat increased. But 
it must be here remarked that the crown of Poland 
never recognized any territorial rights as belonging 
to the Cossacks; a precaution equally just as prudent. 
Sigismund, however, with his habitual sagacity, resolved 
to turn this irregular militia to some useful account, 
and to render it, by degrees, advantageous to the 
state ; for this reason, he permitted Ostaii Daszkiewicz 


(pronounced Daschkievitch), a man of low extraction, 
but of great intelligence and bravery, to organize them 
if possible into regular form and discipline, and to 
instruct them in the art of war ; a task which he ac- 
compKshed to a certain point. He fashioned them into 
something like a regular body of militia, by means of 
which he was enabled to repel the incursions of the 
Tatars, and to gain some advantages over the Ottomans, 
the Wallachians, and the Russians. The king, Sigismund, 
not only ennobled the successful chieftain, but conferred 
upon him the starosties of Czerkassy with Krzyczef 
and Cieciersk (pronounced Tcherkassy, Kchitcheve, 
Tsetshiersque,) on the banks of the Dnieper, and 
appointed him attaman or chief of all the Polish 
Cossacks, as the recompense of his fidelity, valour, 
and good conduct. Although Daszkiewicz was not 
the first attaman of the Cossacks in question, yet it 
is to him nevertheless that is incontestably due the 
merit of having laid the first stone of their military 
organization : his successors but followed in the track 
he had originally marked out for them, and only 
perfected the work his genius had commenced. 

At a later period, the celebrated Stephen Batory, 
as great a captain as he was a shrewd politician, saw 
clearly the advantages derivable from a nation (for 
with that title they were already invested,) who h^ 
been kindly treated in consideration of the good ser- 
vices they had rendered to the state, but who, in 
reality, were nothing more than a barbarian horde, a 


rabble of notorious adventurers, a troop of ferocious 
banditti. He flattered himself with the hope of 
taming their impetuous ardour, by overwhelming them 
with kindness and marks of favour ; of attaching them 
permanently and indissolubly to Poland, and of being 
able to make a beneficial use of their enterprising 
bravery, without having to fear from their turbulence, 
their excesses, and unbridled license. He nominated 
Bohdon Rozynski attaman of the Polish Cossacks, 
and gave him the fortress of Trehtymirow, together 
with considerable revenues ; assigning superior marks 
of distinction to the dignity with which he had in- 
vested him. As part of the insignia of office the new 
attaman likewise received the huldva, or baton of com- 
mander-in-chief, a horse''s tail, bunizuk (bougnetchou- 
que), for his standard ; and for armorial bearings or 
device, a figure representing a Cossack armed for 
battle, bearing a naked sword above his head, covered 
with the peculiarly shaped czapka (tchapka) or Cos- 
sack-bonnet, surmounted by a sort of triangular tassel, 
by way of aigrette, in all of which latter insignia the 
allusion to the Scythian origin of the Cossacks is 
sufficiently evident. 

In order still further to facilitate the subjection of 
these new troops to the restraints imposed by a system 
of vigorous discipline, King Batory distributed the 
Cossack forces into six regiments of one thousand men 
each, again subdivided, respectively, into hundreds, 
or sotnia ; and in some one of which subdivisions 


every Cossack soldier was required to have himself 
inscribed. He likewise created a general of artillery, 
styled ohozny, a secretary (pisar), aides-de-camp 
{assawaly, pronounced assavouU), colonels commanding 
regiments (pulkowniki or poulkoveniqui)^ centurions 
commanding a sub-division or sotnia {sotniki), and 
sudi (soudi), a species of military judges, whose office 
it was to assist the chief in the regular discharge of 
his duties, and by their presence to add a more im- 
posing and solemn character to his station and dignity. 
The hetman, attaman, or chief of the Cossacks, was 
required to fix his residence at Czehrin (Tcheguerine) 
or Trekthymirow, and it was in the environs of these 
two military stations that he was to exercise his militia, 
to renew the garrisons in the islands of the Dnieper, 
to prevent the incursions of the Tatars, keep watch 
over the safety of the frontiers, and direct all the 
ofiensive expeditions. Each Cossack received, as a 
largess or bounty from the King of Poland, as part of 
his pay, a ducat of gold and a pelisse. Those who 
were in receipt of this allowance were inscribed on the 
registers, and were called rejestrowi (registered men). 
Their chief had at his disposal, not only infantry, 
cavalry, and artillery forces, but also an excellent, 
marine. Stephen Batory sanctioned the establishment 
of a stiU greater number of Cossacks in Lower Podolia 
and the Ukraine, as a reserve body, wherewith to 
replace, in case of need, their brethren engaged in 
active service ; allowing them in the meantime to clear 


and cultivate the waste lands. All this organizing of 
the Cossacks of the Dnieper seemed to be somewhat 
foreign to the settled institutions of the Polish mo- 
narchy, and resembled rather one of those military- 
colonies of ancient Scythians, organized after the model 
of a Roman legion. 
i This was, undoubtedly, an institution highly favour- 

^*\J able to the project of this great king : by this means 
he secured the defence of the southern frontiers of 
Poland, and increased his military strength at a cheap 
rate ; at the same time fertilizing a desert country, and 
by insensible but sure degrees civilizing a race of 
men who were no less dangerous to those whom they 
were to defend than those with whom it was their 
business to be in a state of constant warfare and 
hostility. As the Cossacks in question were under 
the obligation of serving the king of Poland in all his 
warlike expeditions, Batory, from their ranks, aug- 
mented the Polish army by an additional force of six 
thousand light cavalry ; and this addition, it was 
intended, should be permanent. In 1578, during the 
memorable war with Russia, this newly raised Cossack' 
cavalry performed prodigies of valour, and powerfully 
contributed to the victories obtained by the Polish 
army over the Russians. At a. latter period. King 
Batory, whilst according his favour and protection to 
the brave and meritorious portion of the Cossack troops, 
yet neglected at the same time no measures for re- 
pressing their lawless depredations. Having heard 


that their new chief, Podkova (a Wallachian, so named 
on account of his extraordinary strength, he having 
repeatedly broken in two, with his fingers, a horse-shoe, 
podkova^ in Polish), had, without his orders, invaded 
Wallachia, and by a sudden and totally unexpected 
irruption into that country, had seized possession of it, 
before its hospodar, Peter, an ally and relative of 
Batory, could have time to arm in its defence, he sent 
a prompt reinforcement to the assistance of the latter ; 
and Podkova, pursued and vanquished by superior 
numbers, was captured, and, by the king's orders, 
beheaded. This was the first collision that had occurred 
between the Poles and the Zaporogue Cossacks ; and, 
although affording a seasonable opportunity for the 
assertion of sovereign authority, and for the exercise 
of a just severity, requisite for the maintenance of 
public- order, this incident served to open Batory's 
eyes, and to warn him that the Cossacks and their 
chief already possessed by far too ample means and 
incitements to create disturbance for them to remain 
submissive and tranquil. He resolved, therefore, to 
place some restrictions on their growing power ; and, 
by a skilful admixture in his measures of well-timed 
rigour with politic conciliation, he succeeded in calming 
the restless agitation of the Cossacks ; sending Polish 
colonists into the Ukraine to counterbalance for the 
future the innate turbulence of this singular race. As 
a state of almost eternal warfare existed beyond the 
cataracts of the Dnieper, the successor of Podkova, 


the Attaman Schah, found a pretext for invading 
Turkey both by sea and land. After ravaging several 
of the Turkish provinces on the coast, he burned the 
suburbs of Constantinople, subdued the Turkish forces 
on every side, and carried off from the gates of the 
Seraglio, and under the very eyes as it were of 
the Sultan, one of his most beautiful favourites, re- 
turning back with his prize into the Ukraine. Incur- 
sions of a similar nature constantly succeeded each 
other, like the waves of a tempest-troubled ocean. 

All the corsair incursions of the Cossacks in ques- 
tion were performed in light boats, called czayhi (pro- 
nounced tchaiqui),^ the nature and construction of which 
merit particular notice. The largest of these pirate-ves- 
sels of the Zaporoguian Cossacks, the czayka^ would con^ 
tain from thirty to sixty men ; was sixty feet long by 
twelve in breadth ; furnished with a sail and from fifteen 
to twenty-five oars, and was armed with a couple of swivel 
guns, or leather cannons, and a competent number of 
smaller fire-arms. These vessels were, sometimes, con- 
structed of the single trunk of the linden-tree, which 
was hollowed out by the Cossacks, and so fashioned that, 
by fastening to it a few planks of wood coated with pitch, 
they converted it into a kind of light bark or elongated 
barge, lined on the inside with skins or with leather, 
and surrounded, outside, with small floats or osier- 
boxes, which, breaking the force of the waves, served 
both to lighten the weight of the vessel, and, at the 
same time, to secure its steadiness, even during the 


most violent tempests. This singular species of bark, 
having from eight to ten feet interior depth, possessed 
also the advantage of being managed with a facility- 
aim ost incredible ; inasmuch as a bark so constructed 
drew infinitely less water than any other vessel of equal 
capacity and dimensions. To complete such a vessel 
required generally the labour of sixty Cossacks for 
fifteen days. 

With these barks, well-furnished with arms, ammu- 
nition, and ships'-stores, the Cossacks,^ having chosen 
a naval chief and a favourable season, made sail for the 
Turkish coast. To form some idea of the boldness and 
reckless daring of these marauders, it may be remarked, 
that the Turks possessed at the mouth of the Dnieper 
and along the two opposite banks, Kissikerman and 
Tavangorod; and that the passage was defended by 
strong iron chains, stretched across under the cannon of 
both fortresses. The Cossacks, previously to their 
arrival at this spot, usually felled an enormous tree, 
which they drove before them on the surface of the 
stream with prodigious force : the chains were burst 
asunder, and, at the alarm thus given, the cannon were 
discharged. But the Cossacks, after clearing the ob- 
stacle in question, and in utter contempt of the Turkish 
fire now opened upon them, pushed forward into the 
Black Sea. Like the ancient Danes, wherever they x 
made good a landing, they spread slaughter, conflagra- \ 
tion, and ruin ; they burned the fleets, pillaged the / 
towns, gathered together their booty, carried oflf they 


young women and children, massacred without pity 
all the males, and disappeared before news could be 
spread of their sudden appearance, or the necessary 
measures taken for repelUng their terrible incursions. 
The time chosen for these murderous attacks was 
generally at day-break, or, occasionally, under cover of 
the darkest midnight. Their very name created terror 
along the coasts of the Black Sea. Not unfrequently 
they would even penetrate into the centre of Natolia. 
At sea, they directed their course without the aid of 
any nautical instruments, but by the sole guidance of 
the stars ; and this with a regularity and precision dif- 
ficult to be conceived — presaging winds, calms, and 
tempests, with mathematical exactness. By dint of 
these continual cruises on the Black Sea, and of their 
expeditions, almost invariably successful, they had ac- 
quired so intimate an acquaintance with its navigation, 
that, even through the darkest and most tempestuous 
night, they could sail on its waters with far greater cer- 
tainty and security from danger than could the Turks 
in mid-day. The vessels that gave chase to them on 
their retreat, not only could never come up with them, 
but were frequently exposed to considerable loss. The 
Cossacks, to whom all the harbours were well known, 
took refuge, with their light barks, in shallows and 
sheltered creeks; from whence, having thus enticed 
their pursuers into dangerous and sometimes fatal posi- 
tions, they slipped away beyond reach of their ven- 
geance, and arrived safely with their booty on the desert 


islands of the Dnieper, in triumphant defiance of the 
Turkish vessels sent out to chase them. The number 
of the Cossacks engaged in these piratical expeditions, 
varied from six to ten thousand picked men. The 
retreatj however, of the Cossacks into the shelter 
afforded by their islands was occasionally attended 
with considerable difficulty, and with greater hazard 
than even their attack, seeing that, closely watched, as 
was often the case by the Turkish navy at the mouth 
of the Dnieper, and not having the advantage of sail- 
ing with the tide in their favour, they were compelled 
to secrete themselves in the tall osier-beds, and to gain 
at high tide a bay separated only by a narrow slip of 
land from a lake. This lake communicated with a river 
which discharged itself into the Dnieper, a few miles 
above the mouth of the latter stream. The Cossacks, 
having once reached the vicinity of the lake, trans- 
ported overland, and on their shoulders, their portable 
barks, gained the lake, on which they then re-em- 
barked, and by this route returned home, thereby 
avoiding the Turkish batteries : at other times, they 
would retreat by way of the Don, ascending the course 
of a small stream which flows into that river close by 
the Samara. Such a mode of retreat was, however, but 
of rare occurrence, as in general they boldly ventured to 
make good their passage homewards under the very 
beards of the Turks. It may also be remarked that, 
as it was only during the clear bright nights that the 
Cossacks were liable to interruption by the Turks in 


their movements, they generally chose for their piratical 
excursions the period of new moon, when the nights 
are dark and gloomy. 

There never yet have been, as there probably 
never will be, a finer race of seamen navigating the 
Black Sea, than were formerly the Cossacks in ques- 
tion : they were never equalled, but in order to have 
again a Kke class of men, it would be necessary that a 
state of circumstances similar to those then existing 
should likewise be revived, an event which is all but 

After the death of Batory, dissensions of a dangerous 
character began to arise between the Cossack colonists 
and the Polish nobles. Sigismund III., either from 
weakness or from ignorance, allowed the seignorial lords 
to oppress the Cossack settlers, who, it is true, were 
considered merely in the light of a militia in the pay of 
the PoHsh crown, but who were never serfs. They 
enjoyed, defacto^ a certain kind of independence ; had 
the privilege of reclaiming the waste lands in particular 
districts ; as also of distilling brandy and brewing beer ; 
privileges highly displeasing to the Polish nobles, and 
tending to diminish the revenues of the latter, who 
were in the habit of establishing Jews in their wine- 
houses or taverns for precisely the same purposes. 
Hence the extraordinary antipathy manifested by the 
Polish Cossacks towards the Jews, an antipathy which 
has never subsided. To this cause of ill-feeling was 
added another subject of discord still more serious, 


the Poles were Catholics and the Cossacks schismatics. 
Sigismund III., a zealous Catholic, and governed en- 
tirely by- the Jesuits, insisted on converting the Cos- 
sacks at whatever price ; an attempt which exasperated 
the latter more than ever. As some of the attamans ^ 
appeared favourable tohisprojects, the Cossacks refused 
to accept an attaman at the hands of the king, but 
elected their own chiefs, some of whom they even killed 
occasionally, when they happened to be unsuccessful in 
their piratical expeditions. They perceived, moreover, 
that there was no longer a Batory, whom they at the 
same time loved and dreaded, at the head of state affairs. 
It may also be remarked that the emperors of Ger- 
many, frequently at war with the Turks, powerfully en- 
couraged, underhand, the incursions of the Cossacks 
against the latter power. 

Under this complication of disturbing causes, symp- 
toms of open rebellion began soon to manifest them- 
selves in the Ukraine. After a few abortive attempts, 
energetically repressed by the skill and promptitude of 
the Polish generals, the Cossacks, in 1596, revolted en 
masse. The Grand- Hetman Zolkiewski marched 
against them ; defeated them several times, not without 
considerable difficulty, and drove them at last into a 
spot where, surrounded on every side, and exposed to 
the destructive fire of the Polish artillery, they were 
forced to surrender at discretion. Their chiefs, Nale- 
ygyke and Laboda, were taken, condemned to death, 
and executed. An amnesty was granted to the rest. 


In 1621, in the war declared by Turkey against 
Poland, and which threatened the very existence of the 
state, Peter Konassewitch Sahaydatchny was elected 
by the Cossacks themselves attaman, and his election 
confirmed by the king. This chief, renowned for his 
victorious expeditions against the Russians, the Tatars, 
and the Turks, after having defeated and slain his 
rival, led 35,000 Cossacks to the Polish camp of the 
Grand-Hetman Chodkiewicz, near Khotzim ; and, 
having signalized himself by prodigies of valour, greatly 
contributed to the glorious result of that memorable 
war. He died shortly afterwards, with the reputation, 
undoubtedly well deserved, of having been one of the 
greatest chiefs of the Polish Cossacks, of whom he had 
several times been elected attaman. He was also pre- 
fect of the convent of K'iof (Krivobratzkay), and pre- 
sident of the academy of that celebrated town. 

From the year 1621 the maritime excursions of the 
Polish Cossacks appear to have declined in frequency, 
either on account of Turkey having adopted more effi- 
cient measures for repelling them, or from the Cossacks 
themselves (who had, in consequence of the wars with 
Russia and Germany, frequent opportunities of display- 
ing elsewhere their restless activity in the field, and their 
passion for plunder), esteemed these marauding adven- 
tures as no longer so profitable as before. Previously to 
the Turkish war, in 1621, one of their chiefs was admitted 
into the presence of the Sultan, who seems to have been 
anxious to behold with his own eyes an individual of 


that strange race of beings who had formerly been so 
severe a scourge to the Ottoman empire. After putting 
several questions to him, which the Cossack answered 
with equal boldness and sincerity, he asked him, what 
were the numbers of his people. ** Sire," replied 
the chief, '^ they are as numerous as the grains of sand 
on the sea shore : each grain covers a multitude of 
others." He was dismissed with presents. It appears 
that they carefully concealed the true amount of their 
population. As, after the war with Turkey, they again 
continued to seduce the peasantry of the great nobles 
from their allegiance to their feudal lords, the latter, 
exasperated at the incessant defection of their vassals, 
commenced a still harsher system of oppression than 
before, towards the authors of these vexations. Seve- 
ral partial revolts ensued in consequence. The Cos- 
sacks were defeated by Konietzpolski, and by others 
of the Polish generals, who, however, failed to turn 
their victories to profitable account. The centre of the 
Cossack power was at that time established at Czerkask 
(Tcherkaske), defended by precipices and inaccessible 
rocks: they had 50,000 excellent troops under arms, 
and a large flotilla on the celebrated islands of the 
Dnieper; and this force they, on emergency, easily 
augmented by fresh levies of trained recruits. After the 
victory gained by the Polish general Konietzpolski 
over the Cossacks at Kumeyki, and the execution of 
their chiefs, the Diet of 1635 deprived them of the 
city of Trchtymirow, abolished their privileges, sup- 


pressed their militia, and declared their territory re- 
united for ever to Poland. But to publish decrees of 
this kind, with any prospect of having them obeyed, 
requires an accompanying power of being able to carry 
them into effect. Poland had at this period several 
other wars in hand ; the Cossacks were rather scattered 
and dispersed than definitively vanquished ; added to 
which, an event altogether unexpected exercised the 
most fatal influence on this unfortunate war. The cir- 
cumstances of this new subject of political disaster are 
of sufficient interest to merit particular mention. 

Sinevoy Boghdan Khmielnitski was the son of a Po- 
lish gentleman of Mazovia, who had, in order to repair 
his shattered fortune, formed an establishment in the 
Ukraine, near Tcheghrine. Successful at first, he was 
subsequently taken prisoner, and died a captive in 
Turkey. His son shared the fate of his parent. Pre- 
viously to his being taken prisoner, the elder Khmiel- 
nitski had maltreated and caused to be flogged in the 
Ukraine a young and high-spirited Pole, Czaplinski, 
who, in consequence, had vowed deadly and implacable 
hatred against him, but had not had sufficient time to 
avenge the insult. Boghdan Khmielnitski, after the 
death of his father, had been ransomed by the liberality 
of the Polish king, Ladislas IV., of whose favour he 
subsequently proved himself worthy, by the extent of 
his knowledge and his great capacity, both military and 
political. He was appointed secretary-general of the 
Zaporogues, a post of considerable importance, and he 


resided on the patrimonial estate of his father at Sob- 
otof, a domain the value and productiveness of which 
he greatly improved by the cultivation of fresh districts 
of land, hitherto lying waste, and by his industry. 
Whilst thus engaged, Czaplinski, then pidotsrostu of 
Czegryn, excited by the still nourished thirst for re- 
venge, persecuted him with unremitting animosity. 
Not content with thwarting his plans of territorial im- 
provement, and contesting with him the advantages 
justly derivable from a superior system of management* 
he proceeded so far as to attack him in his own house, 
burn it, throw him into prison, and offer outrage to his 
wife. Khmielnitski, on his release from prison,** found 
that in the meantime his wife had died of grief. Un- 
able to obtain justice from the local tribunals, he re- 
paired to the Zaporogues, and raised the standard of 
revolt at the head of 50,000 men. With these, making 
his appearance in the Ukraine, he was forthwith pro- 
claimed chief of all the Cossacks of the Dnieper. He 
attacked and took by assault several towns in succession, 
and at the outset obtained many signal advantages over 
the Polish generals, who were forced to yield to supe- 
rior numbers. Either as a ruse, or from some other 
motive not explained, he addressed to King Ladislas a 
letter, couched in the most humble and submissive 
terms, ascribing his hostile proceedings to the sole desire 
of avenging the affront to which he had been subjected, 
and promising to lay down his arms, and to return to 
his allegiance, provided the condition of the Cossacks 


were ameliorated, and himself pardoned. As Ladislas 
IV. had just then (1648) died, this letter remained un- 
answered; meanwhile the forces of Khmielnitski in- 
creased daily, so that in a very short time he found 
himself at the head of a vast body of adherents. John 
Kasimir, who had now ascended the Polish throne, had 
at this period a variety of other wars in hand, and was 
moreover sufficiently occupied and distracted by the 
internal dissensions of his own kingdom. Khmielnitski, 
after having proclaimed the emancipation of the pea- 
sants, called the Cossacks of the Don to arms, increased 
his army by a strong reinforcement of Tatar troops, 
and, having taken several places by assault, crowned 
his exploits by the indiscriminate massacre of all the 
Polish nobles and of the Jews. He ransomed Leopold, 
and, after having married the widow of his former 
persecutor CzapKnski, he advanced with 400,000 men 
to annihilate the remnant of the Polish armies. This 
war was conducted on either side with relentless cru- 
elty, and in the savage spirit of a struggle for mutual 
extermination, the more especially as it was to some 
extent a species of religious warfare ; the schismatics 
of the Russian provinces favouring the cause of Khmiel- 
nitski. Never indeed had Poland found herself placed 
in a position of such imminent danger. Her assailant 
was already master of a third part of the kingdom ; 
giving public audience to foreign ambassadors from 
the principal courts of Europe, and deigning scarcely 
to listen to the various propositions for an amicable 


arrangement which were submitted to him. Already- 
had he meditated the project of falling suddenly, Hke 
a second Attilla, upon Europe, and of conquering for 
himseK a new empire by relinquishing Poland ; when 
his victorious career was at once arrested by the heroic 
courage and surprising energy of a Polish noble, 
Andrew Firley, castellan of Betz, near Zbaraz. This 
nobleman had but 9,000 men under his command. 
Zbaraz is a siiiall town of Lower Podolia, situated at 
the conjunction of two roads ; its population num- 
bered at that period but a few thousand souls. Firley, 
foreseeing that he would very shortly be attacked, 
repaired the old fortifications, laid in a competent 
supply of stores and ammunition, strengthened his 
camp by an entrenchment, and took the requisite mea- 
sures for securing from sudden attack a small pond or 
natural tank in the neighbourhood, the waters of which 
sufficed for the requirements of his little army. To his 
prudence and valour it was that, on the near approach 
of the coming storm, the Polish king had confided the 
important charge of arresting the progress of Khmiel- 
nitski, and of awaiting with some other Polish troops 
the first arrival of the enemy : nor was ever task more 
faithfully accomplished or royal confidence more judi- 
ciously placed than on this occasion. 

Scarcely had Firley taken up his position and com- 
pleted his entrenchments, when the Cossack and 
Tatar armies surrounded him on all sides : instead, 
however, of tamely surrendering, he resolved to defend 



himself to the last extremity. Khmielnitski and the 
Tatar Khan glanced in anticipated triumph from the 
aspect of the immense forces at their command to the 
comparatively insignificant strength of the small Polish 
army before them ; and with a smile of disdain made 
certain of destroying the latter in the course of an 
hour's engagement. Too confident of victory, Khmiel- 
nitski, willing to prevent the effusion of blood, sum- 
moned Firley to surrender, assuring him of kind treat- 
ment, and of the highest regard for his courage, which 
he held to be unimpeachable. Firley returned for 
answer, that he had only to come and take them ; upon 
which several columns of infantry were instantly set 
in motion, fifty pieces of cannon opened their fire upon 
the Polish camp, and 60,000 Cossacks, commanded 
by Khmielnitski in person, and led by skilful and 
experienced officers, mounted to the assault. They 
were, however, repulsed with considerable loss. The 
Tatars and Don-Cossacks now followed in their turn 
but with no better success, and their dead bodies 
choked up the ditches. Khmielnitski, anxious to avoid 
the protracted delays of a siege in form, and to animate 
his troops by the excitement of a victory, gave orders 
to resume the assault. Column after column pressed 
forward to attack the entrenchment, but the incessant 
and well-directed fire of the besieged rendered unavail- 
ing every effort of the assailants, whose dense masses 
were every moment thinned by the terrific discharges 
of grape-shot and musketry brought to bear upon them 


by Firley, upon whom these repeated onslaughts failed 
to make the slightest impression. Irritated and ex- 
asperated rather than discouraged, Khmielnitski now 
issued orders to concentrate the principal attack in the 
direction of the pond, a point of the Polish camp 
which appeared less strongly defended than other por- 
tions of the entrenched position, and where, conse- 
quently, a breach seemed more practicable. Eighty-five 
pieces of cannon were sent forward to cover this 
attack ; by the combined fire from these, the artillery 
of Firley was dismounted. Scaling-ladders were now 
everywhere applied, but a fearful discharge of mus- 
ketry from the besieged, joined to the havoc caused 
by the explosion of a shower of shells and ignited 
hand-grenades hurled by them amongst their assailants, 
occasioned such great loss and confusion in the ranks 
of the latter, that the assault was once more repelled ; 
Khmielnitski himself, from motives of commiseration, 
giving the order to retreat, after having suffered in 
seventeen successive assaults enormous loss. The 
night passed off quietly. On the following day, a 
number of general assaults were attempted ; and the 
attack was pushed with so much vigour and pertinacity, 
that already the Cossacks were on the very point 
of carrying both the camp and town, when, at this 
critical juncture, Prince Visniovietski cried aloud 
to spare the Tatars, since they had brought, by mes- 
sengers from their khan, words of peace and good- 
will, and were about to turn their arms against the 


Cossacks. This stratagem had the desired effect ; it 
revived the drooping courage of the besieged, and 
damped the ardour of the assailants ; the Poles made 
a last desperate effort, and the enemy were repulsed. 
Khmielnitski, perceiving that his army began to mur- 
mur, and that it would be dangerous, for the moment 
at least, to renew the assault openly, had recourse to 
treachery, and despatched three secret emissaries, dis- 
guised in the Polish uniform, into Zbaraz, to sow 
discord in the camp, and to assassinate Firley : the 
attempt however failed, the plot was discovered, 
and the three spies quartered. He was compelled, 
therefore, to undergo all the delays and procrastinations 
of a regular siege. In a short time, immense works, 
directed by foreign officers and engineers, had brought 
the Cossacks into close proximity to the town. For- 
midable batteries were erected ; in addition to which 
Khmielnitski gave orders to divert the course of a small 
river that fed the pond, in order to cut off the supply 
of water to the Polish army, and thereby deprive the 
besieged of a resource indispensable to their very 
existence. This project was not altogether impracti- 
cable, considering the then prevailing heat of the 
summer season ; but it required time for its accom- 
plishment, which, on the other hand, was not unattended 
with serious difficulties. Firley, who began already to 
feel the absolute necessity of economising his means 
of subsistence, was obliged to expel from the town all 
the women, children, and old men. The rest of the 


inhabitants, even to the boys of the age of thirteen 
years, were armed and organized for the defence of 
Zbaraz. Scarcely had this wretched crowd of helpless 
beings quitted the entrenchments, when a brutal and 
ungovernable soldiery fell upon the women, whom 
they first maltreated; and afterwards, together with 
all that left Zbaraz, pitilessly and indiscriminately 
massacred, without regard to age or sex. At the sight 
of this atrocity, cries of rage and execration arose from 
within the ramparts; but it was already too late to 
afford succour to the miserable sufferers, and they all 

During the enemy's operations to divert the course 
of the river, Firley, now more than ever resolved to 
sell his life dearly, was not inactive ; and as he united 
in his disposition an iron stubbornness of will with 
consummate skiQ in all branches of the art of war, 
he ordered some houses to be demolished, and on their 
site a second entrenchment to be constructed, imme- 
diately behind and parallel with the first : within this 
again a third, on the descent ; and finally, an inner 
stockade of baggage-waggons and caissons, linked 
together by iron chains: he even made all requisite 
dispositions to defend himself and his men to the very 
last extremity, in the vaults and under-ground works 
of the fortifications. As soon as the small river had 
been intercepted, and a number of breaches made in 
the outworks, a heavy cannonade announced a fresh 
attack on the part of the Cossacks. Strong columns 


of the enemy advanced to the storm ; but when, after 
a vigorous resistance, the Cossack troops had carried 
the first intrenchment, they were not a little surprised 
at finding a second and a third, wherein they met 
with so warm a reception, that, bravely repulsed, and 
in their turn fiercely attacked and pursued, they left 
the streets of Zbaraz encumbered with the corpses of 
their slain, and with the bodies of their wounded 
comrades cut off in their retreat. In the intervals 
thus gained from attack, Firley ordered all the mus- 
kets and ammunition to be collected from the dead, 
and distributed but few rounds of cartridge to each of 
his men, in order that they might be thereby induced 
to take surer aim. He had recourse, moreover, to a 
singular stratagem, the success of which even surpassed 
his hopes. He had perforations made in the intrench- 
ments; and in these apertures were planted several 
rows of muskets, well charged, and so arranged as not 
to be perceptible to the enemy. These muskets were 
all carefully levelled so as to tell with precision on the 
ranks of an assailant; and to each trigger was attached 
a string which led from other stronger ropes, disposed 
in such a manner as that on violently shaking the 
latter the muskets were discharged in vollies of fifteen 
at a time. To guard against an attack by surprise, 
the main cords of this species of " infernal machine " 
passed through holes under ground; that is to say, 
into the subterranean barracks or excavations beneath 
the intrenchments, wherein were lodged some of the 


wounded and disabled from active service, who re- 
ceived the requisite instructions for the management 
of this novel means of defence. 

For some days the besieged remained unmolested, 
but the waters of the pond continued to decrease visi- 
bly ; the provision stores began to fail, threatening an 
absolute scarcity of food. The stifling heat of the 
weather, the great numbers of men cooped up together 
in a confined space, and more especially the want of 
proper nourishment, carried off the sick and wounded by 
hundreds. Many of the soldiers perished in defending 
the breach : all the messengers whom Firley despatched 
to the king to apprize him of the fearful position of the 
small garrison of Zbaraz, anxiously expecting every 
instant but in vain the arrival of reinforcements, were 
either taken or killed by the troops of Khmielnitski. 
To crown all these disasters, a putrid fever broke out 
amongst the besieged, and did more havoc in the Polish 
camp than did the balls of the enemy. Meanwhile, 
Firley continued to sustain the drooping courage of his 
countrymen, scarcely allowing himself time for sleep ; 
present everywhere, providing with promptness and 
decision for every emergency, and constantly impress- 
ing on the minds of his companions in distress how 
preferable it was to die nobly in the breach, than to 
expire in lingering torment. After consuming all the 
horses, dogs, cats, rats, frogs, snakes, reptiles, and the 
miserable remnant of such food as desperation suggests 
or chance supplies, Firley, seeing that his garrison was 


reduced to the very last extremity, ordered all the 
bodies of the young Cossacks recently killed to be col- 
lected, had them cut up and salted with gunpowder, 
and then distributed amongst his famishing troops. 
Some of these, indeed, testified an insurmountable re- 
pugnance to taste of this fare so novel and revolting ; 
but the rest, impelled by the imperious rage of hunger, 
were fain to follow the example set them by their chief 
himself. Monks, artizans, and priests, crowded to die 
in the breach. Occasionally, the Cossacks speculated 
on the chances of an assault : every day, towards even- 
ing, and at sunrise, whilst the Polish flag waved at the 
summit of the castle, was chaunted, to the sound of 
martial music, the solemn hymn to the Blessed Virgin, 
queen and patroness of Poland, to the intent that she 
might deliver the remnant of her brave people from 
their hapless fate : and many a time did the strains of 
this pious and warlike hymn revive the courage of the 
dying, and pour into the despairing soul the balm of 
cheering hope and the quietude of resignation. 

The Cossacks, having heard of the misery that pre- 
vailed in the Polish camp, made, in the middle of the 
night, a last and desperate effort to surprise it. They 
forced the first, second, and third intrenchments ; they 
were already on the point of butchering the womided ; 
already had they raised their cry of triumph ; when, at 
a given signal, the report of fire-arms was heard in their 
rear : they fell by hundreds, and these incessant and 
murderous discharges fully impressed them with the 


belief that they were being attacked by some new 
enemy, whereupon they turned about and fled, the 
garrison making a sortie and pursuing them. The day 
broke, and an arrow, shot by some unknown hand, fell 
in the centre of the Polish camp : it bore an inscrip- 
tion announcing the arrival of the king with reinforce- 
ments. The arrow and its tidings were, at first, looked 
upon as a stratagem of the enemy, but soon the con- 
tinued movements perceptible amongst the hostile 
troops, and the evident symptoms of disorder in the 
Cossack and Tatar armies, left no further doubt as to 
something of the kind having happened. The arrow 
had been sent by a Polish noble, who, in resentment of 
an affront, had joined the standard of Khmielnitski : but 
the important intelligence he had forwarded to Firley, 
and the good service he had rendered the king by trans- 
mitting to him news of the fearful state to which the 
garrison of Zbaraz was reduced,, procured him a free 
pardon for his desertion to the enemy. Firley had 
completely exhausted his stock of gunpowder and ball, 
so that his garrison could not possibly have held out 
longer. The king of Poland, John Kasimir, was now 
actually advancing to its relief, and had already reached 
Zborof, a small town not far from Leopold. 

Khmielnitski and the Tatar khan having learned 
that the army of the Polish king consisted of but 
barely 20,000 men, imagined that this was a new 
prey for them to devour ; the more easily too as the 
royal army did not occupy any fortified position. Leav- 


ing, therefore, 45,000 Tatars and 200,000 Cossacks 
before the intrenchments of Zbaraz, they marched upon 
Zborof with 60,000 Tatars, and 100,000 Cossacks, the 
elite of both armies, and a strong force of artillery. 
They soon arrived, under cover of a thick fog, close upon 
the royal army, before the latter had warning of their 
approach. Scarcely had they sufficient time to form 
into battalion, when they found themselves assailed on 
every side. A canal, confined by a high bank, pro- 
tected their rear; but this embankment having been 
broken through, the rear-guard, violently attacked, lost 
their baggage trains. The moment was critical for the 
fate of Poland. Neither the Tatars nor the Cossacks 
were able to force the centre and the right wing, where 
they were repulsed with immense loss; but the left 
wing, raked by the artillery and attacked by over- 
whelming numbers, after losing all its officers, was ex- 
posed to the greatest danger. Thither the king 
hastened, and his presence revived the spirit of the 
soldiers, who performed prodigies of valour. 

Nightfall brought no cessation to the fury of the 
assailants : during the construction of a rampart with 
the heaped-up bodies of the slain, the Polish generals 
convoked a council of war, wherein a resolution was 
come to, confirmed by an oath, either to conquer or 
die. Further, it was decided, that measures should 
be taken to detach the khan from the Cossack alliance. 
When daylight dawned on this terrible night, the 
battle was renewed with increased determination on 


either side. AVhilst a hand-to-hand conflict, sustained 
by all the rancour of mutual hate and animosity, was 
raging with deadly force amongst the combatants, 
whole ranks were swept away at once by the fearful 
discharges of artillery. Ultimately, however, the im- 
mense superiority in numbers was forced to yield to 
the steady power of military tactics, and the resistless 
courage of despair. The Poles were victorious on all 
points. Khmielnitski having received unfavourable 
news from Lithuania, where Prince Radziwill was 
everywhere defeating the Cossacks with terrific energy, 
and having reason, from hour to hour, to expect the 
arrival of that victorious general with 15,000 troops 
to reinforce the royal army; finding, moreover, that 
the khan of the Tatars had withdrawn his support 
from the Cossack cause, and had actually concluded 
an armistice with the Polish king ; Khmielnitski, thus 
hampered and thwarted in his plans, found himself 
under the necessity of likewise agreeing to a suspension 
of hostilities, and of soliciting, in person, his pardon 
from the king ; an event which afforded some tempo- 
rary respite to unhappy Poland. The convention of 
Zborof (17th August, 1649,) was by no means favour- 
able to Khmielnitski himself. He was therein treated 
as a rebellious subject, compelled to disband his army, 
and forbidden for the future to receive deserters or 
refugees ; he was to be permitted to retain no greater 
number than 40,000 registered Cossacks — and these 
merely for the defence of the frontiers, conformably 


to the ancient stipulations settled by King Batory. 
But on the other hand, an amnesty was granted to 
all the Cossacks, who were to be permitted in future 
to elect their own attamans and to distil brandy : 
they were also to have the right of hunting and fishing 
throughout the south of the Ukraine; they were to 
enjoy the free exercise of their religion ; and a pro- 
mise was even made them to admit to the Senate 
and to the Diet a Cossack, with the title of Palatine 
of Kiow, as likewise a metropolitan of the Greek 
religion. Further, there was accorded to each re- 
gistered Cossack, a ducat in money, together with 
sufficient cloth for his dress. 

Scarcely had the Tatars and Khmielnitski retreated, 
when the king's troops made their appearance before 
Firley's camp. At the aspect of the national banners 
waving in the air, near Zbaraz, all attempts to preserve 
order and discipline in the garrison became useless. A 
crowd of living spectres rushed into the embraces of 
their brethren in arms. Some, exhausted by long 
suffering and privation, e:8:pi«:ed with excess of joy. 
Shortly afterwards, masses were performed, to render 
thanksgiving to Heaven for the miraculous deliverance 
of this band of heroes ; but many of the inhabitants of 
Zbaraz never more were blessed with the sight of 
wife, mother, sisters, or children. This celebrated 
defence, one of the most obstinate and determined of 
its kind in the seventeenth century, earned for its 
leader, Firlev, immortal fame ; afforded time to the 


king of Poland to detach, by means of skilfully 
directed intrigues, the Tatar troops from the Cossack 
alliance ; reawakened the energies of the Polish 
nation ; and thereby, most probably saved all Europe 
from a terrible invasion on the part of the barbarian 
tribes, not less dangerous than had been formerly that 
of Attila or of Ghengiz-Khan. Khmielnitski and the 
Tatars lost in twenty-nine attacks on Zbaraz, and in 
the battle of Zborof, upwards of 50,000 of their best 
troops, and the best part of their artillery. There was 
in Firley's camp a priest, Mucheveski, stationed at the 
gate of the castle, who, with his single carabine, shot 
down upwards of two hundred Cossacks, according to 
Pastorius ; himself receiving several wounds. Firley 
was presented with a starosty, as a reward for his 
signal exploit; but, beyond this, history is silent as 
regards his subsequent career. It is only by such 
another man that Poland can once i^ore be freed. 
The Firley family is of British origin; ranking, 
however, amongst the most illustrious of the Polish 
nobility. It has produced several warriors, a few 
statesmen, and a host of beautiful women. There were 
yet remaining, in Austrian Gallicia, a few surviving 
descendants of this distinguished family; and there 
may still be found, if indeed they have not been 
massacred by the peasantry in the late insurrection of 
the latter against the nobles. Many historians con- 
sider the defence of Zbaraz by Firley one of the 
most surprising military achievements upon record. 


The convention of Zbaraz was highly displeasing to 
the Polish nobility, as being too favourable to the 
Cossacks. Complaints on the subject were in conse- 
quence made to the Diet ; but the king, unshaken in 
his purpose, appeared more obstinately bent than ever 
on having it observed. In a short time, however, 
Khmielnitski, still protesting his good intentions, fanned 
anew the embers of discord : setting on foot a variety 
of intrigues, now with Turkey, now with the Court of 
Russia, on his own account ; and after promising the 
Sultan to yield him up the Ukraine, on certain 
conditions — amongst others, that he might expel the 
hospodar of Moldavia, as being too favourably dis- 
posed towards Poland — he openly and without any 
previous declaration of war invaded the latter province, 
of which he made himself master. Scarcely had the 
hospodar sufficient time to take refuge, with a few 
troops, in those vast forests which had so often been 
the tomb of an invading foe. From this retreat, 
however, he shortly afterwards emerged, after paying a 
heavy ransom to Khmielnitski, to whose son, moreover, 
he promised to give his daughter in marriage. This 
invasion spread alarm once more throughout Poland ; 
more especially as Khmielnitski, under the pretext of 
aiding the khan of the Tatars in an invasion against 
the Circassians, was levying fresh troops ; and as one 
of his subaltern chiefs, Nitchai, about this time made 
an irruption into Podolia ; where however, beaten, 
pursued, and his forces cut to pieces, he perished, 


together with his adherents. Although these irrup- 
tions were disavowed by Khmiebiitski, two Polish 
divisions, one of them under the orders of Kalinowski, 
and the other under Potocki, advanced upon the 
Ukraine and Podolia. There existed, moreover, 
another ground of quarrel. The disbanded Cossacks 
would not allow t the peasants to cultivate the soil, nor 
the seigneurs to reside on the estates of these districts. 
A deputation of Cossacks sent to negociate with the 
king, made such extravagant demands and proposals 
so insolent, that John Kasimir himself changed his 
mind regarding them ; and having learned that the 
Cossacks were about voluntarily to submit themselves 
to Turkey, he immediately raised 50,000 fresh troops, 
convoked the Pospolite ruszenie, or general muster of 
the nobles, and marched against Khmielnitski ; whilst 
Radziwill, almost invariably successful against the 
Cossacks, guarded Lithuania. 

The royal troops thought to take Khmielnitski by 
surprise ; when, to their astonishment, that chief, 
having collected immense forces, suddenly made his 
appearance within a thousand paces of the Polish army. 
On making this discovery, the king fell back and took 
up his position near Beresteczko, on the bank of the 
river Styr, in Volhynia ; having on the one hand that 
river as his point-d'appui, and on the other, a hilly 
ground, which he bristled with infantry. He had all 
the bridges destroyed, in order to leave no possibility 
of retreat. 


As this battle would decide the fate of the Cossacks, 
and as Khmielnitski, during the two days' skirmishing 
which preceded it, had become convinced that the 
Polish army was more numerous than usual, he seemed 
inclined to avoid the chances of a general engagement. 
The king, who penetrated his design, thereupon 
ordered his army to form in line of battle — a manoeuvre 
which was effected under cover of a dense fog. The 
right wing was commanded by the Grand-Hetman Po- 
totski, who had under him the illustrious Sobieski, just 
arrived from his recent journey into France, and 
who was shortly to adorn the Polish crown with the 
added glories of his immortal fame. The left wing 
was confided to the command of General Kalinowski, 
supported by the Princes Ostrogoki and V'isniovietski, 
two noblemen of approved bravery serving under 
him, the king taking charge of the centre, and 
having in front of his line the Polish and German 
infantry, as likewise the artillery under the direc- 
tion of Przyiemski, a veteran Swedish general. The 
second line was composed of a superb body of 
cavalry, amongst whom was the king in person. 
The third portion of the line formed a reserve, 
under the orders of Prince Charles, brother to the 
king, and of a French colonel, Duplessis, whose skill 
and daring had become proverbial. In the rear 
of these main bodies were posted a few regiments 
of light infantry, whilst the whole was hedged in 
with a forest of lances, the floating pennants from 


which spread farther than the eye could reach, and 
fonned a spectacle at once imposing and fantastic. The 
Polish army numbered 100,000 men. 

The enemy's force consisted of 350,000 men: its 
numbers were lost in the distance, and presented the 
appearance of living waves, tossing to and fro on the 
agitated surface of a tempest-torn ocean. The Cos- 
sacks drawn up facing the left wing of the Polish army 
were intermixed with Turkish troops. Several rows 
of chariots, linked firmly together by iron chains, called 
tabor, and defended by picked men, formed their 
centre; on both wings and on all the neighbouring 
heights were the innumerable Tatar squadrons, ranged 
in the form of a half-moon or single crescent. The fog 
had just dispersed, and the rays of a bright sun dis- 
closed to mutual view the two armies, surprised and 
motionless, in front of each other. Since the days of 
Timur-lenkh never had the like for importance and 
extent been seen. After a few seconds of deep and 
solemn silence had elapsed, forty-eight pieces of field- 
artillery, under Przyiemski, opened a deadly fire ; the 
ranks of the enemy were visibly thinned by the dis- 
charge, and the entire Polish army rushed upon the 
Cossacks, who were the principal object of attack; 
these, after a vigorous defence, broken at last by the 
fury of the Polish charge, took refuge behind their 
iron-bound chariots, leaving their Tatar allies openly 
exposed to the murderous fire of the artiUery, beneath 
which they fell by whole squadrons at a time. Com- 




pelled to regain the heights from which they had des- 
cended, the Tatars rallied again at first, but when all 
around the khan had been either killed or wounded, 
that chief gave way : his best squadrons dispersed, and 
towards nightfall took to flight, pursued by the Polish 
cavalry; leaving behind them their camp, their bag- 
gage, and their prisoners, as also an immense booty, 
the whole of which fell into the hands of the victorious 
Poles. Khmielnitski strove in vain to arrest their 
retreat, and with this view rode after the Tatars ; but 
the khan, after reproaching him with his deception in 
having given him a false report of the strength of the 
Polish army, had him arrested, and even threatened 
to deliver him up to the Polish king, unless he con- 
sented to indemnify him, the khan, for the losses he 
had sustained in consequence, by delivering to him one 
half of all the booty which the Cossack chief had 
realized in the immediately preceding campaign against 
Poland. The absence of Khmielnitski threw the Cos- 
sack army, still 200,000 strong, into a state of para- 
lysing uncertainty. Batteries were erected all around 
them and they fell by hundreds. After making some 
unsuccessful sorties, the Cossacks, weakened by two 
days' fighting, were as a body completely dispersed: 
the small remnant of their but lately innumerable 
forces, entrenched themselves on a neighbouring island, 
where, obstinately refusing to surrender, they were ex- 
terminated to the very last man. 

In this brilliant action, which lasted three successive 


days, and which destroyed the Cossack power in Po- 
land, the Poles sustained but very trifling loss. Forty 
thousand Cossacks and Tatars were left dead on the 
field of battle ; sixty pieces of cannon, all their baggage 
trains and banners, together with an immense collection 
of booty, fell into the hands of the conquerors, as 
trophies of their victory. The king committed a 
great oversight in not following up to the very last in 
pursuit of the flying enemy. The Cossacks were 
allowed to eflfect their retreat comparatively unmo- 
lested, and the victor was content with a mere restric- 
tion of their privileges. Khmielnitski, however, soon 
made his re-appearance in arms, raised once more the 
standard of revolt, and even with some partial success 
at first : but was again defeated, after having in vain 
soHcited the protection of Turkey and Sweden, who, 
at the same time that they refused him their support, 
advised him to place no reliance whatever on Kussia. 
He tdtimately changed his line of policy as regarded 
the establishment of the Cossacks as an independent 
state : and having received information that Prince 
Radziwill had just at this period annihilated his best 
troops in Lithuania, and that the Tatar khan had 
entered into a treaty with the king of Poland, whereby 
he undertook to pursue the Cossacks in every direction 
and to break up their settlements, on condition of his 
Polish majesty's aiding him to reconquer the Khanat 
in the kingdom of Astrakhan, subjugated a century 
before by the Czar Ivan IV., — conscious, moreover, 



that he was in no condition to struggle single-handed 
against Poland, Khmielnitski, on the 6th January, 
1654, concluded at Pereaslav a convention with the 
Czar Alexy Michalovitch, by the terms of which a 
portion of the Ukrania, together with its Cossack 
population, submitted under certain conditions to the 
dominion of Russia. The conformity of creed in 
matters of religion existing between the t^^ nations, 
the desire to furnish, elsewhere, employment for the 
turbulent activity and restless enterprise of the Cossack 
hordes, joined to an inclination to enjoy at his ease 
the sweets of power — by no means an object of easy 
attainment in Poland — would seem to have been the 
principal motives for his taking this rash and impru- 
dent step, in direct opposition to the advice of Charles 
Gustavus, king of Sweden, and against the wish and 
opinion of many of the Cossacks themselves. 

It may be as well here to remark, that when Khmiel- 
nitski advised the czar to attack Poland, the latter, 
willing at the same time both to play upon the super- 
stitious feelings of the common people, and to have 
his still wavering decision confirmed by some favour- 
able omen, had a couple of wild bulls brought before 
him ; one of these bore the name of Poland the other 
Muscovy: the larger and more powerful of the two 
was the champion of Eussia. The bulls were then 
let loose upon each other : in the event of the Polish 
bull being crushed by his adversary, then Alexy was 
to be considered as fulfilling orders from on high. At 


first the superior activity of the Polish bull gave him 
some advantage over his more ponderous assailant, 
and he parried the attack of the Russian bull ; but the 
latter, infuriated by resistance, redoubled his efforts, 
and by dint of his overwhelming strength overthrew 
the former, and was on the point of being proclaimed 
the conqueror, when suddenly the Polish bull, whom 
every one supposed to be nearly dead, started up again 
on his legs, rushed with resistless fury on his anta- 
gonist, buried his horns in his flank, and stretched him 
lifeless on the arena. This circumstance, related by 
several writers, made such an impression on the mind 
of Alexy, that it became necessary to set in motion 
the intrigues of the courtiers, and even of the metro- 
politan himself, in order to force him to invade Poland. 
As for the Cossacks, naturally a superstitious race, it 
was for them an infallible prognostic of the ultimate 
victory that must one day be achieved by Poland over 
Russia. As Khmielnitski had not the right of dispo- 
sing of the Ukraine, a war with Russia ensued, and, 
after much bloodshed, and the loss by the Cossacks of 
several battles, a portion of Ukrania was restored to 

Although, in accordance with the convention of Pe- 
reaslav, between the czar and Khmielnitski, the latter 
took possession of the Russian Ukraine, as a fief of 
Muscovy, yet on behalf of the Cossacks, whom, as his 
proteges, he erected into a species of separate nation, 
they were in reality much less independent than 



they had formerly been whilst under the dominion of 
Poland. The Russians personified despotism itself; 
the Cossacks, on the contrary, the essence of freedom : 
their customs, their character, their Magdeburg code 
of laws, under which their government was carried on, 
all gave umbrage to the Russians. 

When we reflect on the conduct of Khmielnitski, we 
cannot but admit that he possessed in an eminent de- 
gree the talent of adapting his measures to the peculiar 
disposition and manners of the Cossacks ; that he pos- 
sessed over them a great ascendancy and controlling 
influence ; but it is nevertheless equally evident that he 
never intended definitely to separate himself from Po- 
land, either because he still secretly cherished in his 
bosom a remnant of affection towards his native land, 
or that he foresaw that a race of men, who exist but 
for rapine and plunder, and who seem to have a decided 
repugnance to establishing themselves anywhere as a 
settled community, do not possess within themselves 
the requisite elements for constituting a separate nation. 
Khmielnitski, it is true, took signal vengeance for his 
wrongs, but he dealt an almost mortal blow to Poland, 
and would appear subscquenj:ly to have bitterly repented 
his conduct in so doing ; since, on his death-bed, after 
having summoned together the principal Cossack 
leaders, and returned them thanks for their devotion to 
his cause, he uttered these memorable words : " / have 
committed towards God a grievous sin, in having betrayed 
the Cossack people to the Czar Alexy : it were better that 


they should confide in the Turks, or even in the Tatars 
themselves, than in the good faith of Russia, Return 
back then, Cossacks, to Poland, and continue for ever 
united to her.'' After pronouncing this address he ex- 
pired, on the I5th of August, 1656. 

After his death the Cossacks alternately, as occasion 
offered, returned to their allegiance to Poland, or sub- 
mitted to the Turks; now allying themselves once more 
with Russia, now breaking out into fresh revolts, which 
deluged the country with torrents of blood. All the 
efforts of an historian would be unequal to the task of 
describing the endless intrigues and convulsions by 
which they were incessantly agitated. Although Russia 
held out to them the hope of something like indepen- 
dence, she never in reality entertained the slightest idea 
of fulfilling her promises to the Cossacks in this respect. 
8he on the contrary abrogated their privileges, and 
suppressed the Cossack settlements in Lesser Russia. 

Outrages similar to those perpetrated by Czaplinski 
could not be tolerated anywhere. Had he been 
punished with death in Khmielnitski's presence the 
terrible rebellion of the Cossacks under his sway would 
never have happened. On the other side, had Khmiel- 
nitski's father not shamefully illtreated Czaplinski, the 
latter would probably never have committed such enor- 
mities at Khmielnitski's house, and never avenged on 
the son the insults to which he had been subjected by 
the father. Those also who are acquainted with the 
recesses of the human heart, are well aware, that a 


proud man may forgive many things, but scorn never ; 
and that there are offences which are never forgiven. 

More than once we have seen that private quarrels 
often exercised a fatal influence on the destiny of large 
empires. Such things produce generally a terrible 
commotion when the offender is too powerful to be 
dealt with openly; and the more powerful he is, the 
more his injuries are resented. Even time, instead of 
diminishing, only increases the thirst for revenge. 

Khmielnitski, after his defection from Poland, usurped 
the Polish title of hetman, which nowhere now exists 
but among the Cossacks. The dignity of grand 
hetman, which corresponds to that of field-marshal, or 
general-in-chief, existed till the last partition of 
Poland. The supreme military title among the Cos- 
sacks, granted to the latter by the Polish kings, and 
known among the Cossacks themselves, was Attaman 
Koshovy, or only Koshovy; Attaman Kourenny, or 
Kourenny only, corresponding with the title of colonel, 
with some higher distinctions. 

After the defection of Khmielnitski from Poland and 
his death, a Cossack chief, Samoilovitch, taking advan- 
tage of a disastrous treaty between Poland and Russia 
in 1686, by which not only the Polish territory at the 
east of the Dnieper, but even the important town of 
K'iof was given up to the latter power, prevailed, by 
Russian intrigues, on great numbers of Polish 
Cossacks settled on the western bank of that river to 
emigrate with him to Russia in 1675, under the plea of 


finding great advantages for them in the Russian 
Ukraine, where lands were actually distributed to them 
in the Steppes, and high-sounding promises made them 
by order of the czar. This emigration, which may be 
considered as one of the most important after the death 
of Khmielnitskij was undertaken more from religious 
than from political motives, as the Cossacks on all im- 
portant occasions have invariably shown a greater 
predilection to Poland than to Russia, on account of 
their attachment to liberty and democracy. 

AVars between Poland and Russia on account of the 
Cossacks have been incessant. The continual emigra- 
tion of the Cossacks to both countries became an 
apple of discord between Poland and Russia till the 
complete suppression of the Zaporogues before the par- 
tition of Poland : though some of the Polish Cossacks 
were still to be found in the Ukraine. If, on one side, 
during the beginning of their political existence the 
Cossacks were useful to Poland; on the other, their 
piratical expeditions and rapine in Turkey were chiefly 
the cause of many wars with the Ottomans ; while their 
numerous rebellions cost rivers of blood. The perse- 
cution of their religious creed, chiefly attributed to the 
bigotry of the Jesuits who governed the weak Sigis- 
mund III., and the oppression to which they were sub- 
jected by the Polish grandees, sapped the political 
existence of Poland. As there was a time when all the 
Cossacks were inclined to be incorporated completely 
with Poland, it was as necessary to invest them cau- 


tiously with the privileges of the Polish nobles as to 
exterminate them completely. 

The general characteristics of the Cossacks appear to 
be their predilection for a wandering life, love of 
rapine, a wild passion for democracy, and a liberty they 
know not how to use. A Cossack will endure any 
climate, and is remarkable for the instinct by which he 
finds his way in the wildest tracts. With noisy demon- 
strations of joy in successes, they combine sudden 
depression of spirits in reverses, and their passions ai'e 
easily excited, being governed rather by impulse than 
by reason. The generality of the Cossacks are of 
middle size but of robust constitution, enduring hun- 
ger, thirst, fatigue, and want of sleep, with astonishing 
hardihood. They have mostly auburn or red hair, blue 
sunken eyes, and Asiatic features : cunning and patient 
in stratagem, they are at the same time proud and 
hospitable. They are rather a peculiar race than a 
distinct nation, whose ultimate destiny, assigned them 
by Providence, is, probably, not yet fulfilled. 

See Lessur's Histoire des Cosaques; Chevalier's 
Guerre des Cosaques ; Pastorius ; Niemcevitch ; Beau- 
plan; Sherer Annales de le Petite Russie; Pologne 
Pittoresque ; Brown on the Cossacks ; Pamietniki ; 
Hetmana Zulkiewskiego, &c., &c. 

See on Pazin, L'Eveque ; Lessur ; Kelation of the 
rebellion of Eazin, British Museum, &c., &c. 

See on Mazeppa, Life of Peter the Great, Charles 
XII., Nurymberg, &c. &c. 



Stenko Eazin— Obscurity of his early History— His Oath of Ven- 
geance against Russia — His Eetreat at the Mouth of the laik— 
Amnesty with Russia — Again RevoUs — His Popularity— Attack 
on Astrakhan— Its Capture— Stenko Razin's ambitious Design — 
His Stratagem and Successes — Head-quarters of Prince Dolgorouki 
— Horrible Execution of the Rebels — Stenko betrayed by Yakolof — 
— His Execution, and extraordinary Firmness — Restoration of 

The very first act of the Russian supremacy over the 
Cossacks of the Ukraine was by no means of good 
augury for the future, as we shaU prove by a descrip- 
tion of the rebellion. 

The origin of Stenko Razin, and the manner in 
which he spent his youthful days, are by no means 
well known, and seem to be enveloped in mystery. In 
almost aU the books written concerning him he is de- 
scribed as a Don Cossack, but the termination of his 
surname is purely foreign : stiU, as neither the place 
of his birth, nor the name of Cossack Stanitza (com- 
mune) to which he belonged, is mentioned, it is pos- 
sible that either he emigrated with Khmielnitski from 
Poland to Russia, in his childhood, or joined his 
Cossacks from more distant regions. 


Prince Dolgorouki, who commanded in the Russian 
Ukraine, was desirous of retaining a Cossack regiment 
for some time longer that he was warranted in doing 
by the stipulations agreed upon with the Cossacks, who 
had just previously thrown themselves into the arms of 
E/Ussia, and which stipulations had been formally rati- 
fied by the Czar Alexy. The soldiers refused to re- 
main, and with their colonel, Razin, at their head, 
marched ofi" home. The Russian general had the 
colonel seized, brought privately back to the Russian 
camp, and there hanged under his own eyes. This 
colonel had a brother, named Stenko Razin, a simple 
Cossack soldier in the ranks, but whose lofty and enter- 
prising character, uncommon courage, strength of body, 
and skill in military affairs, greatly distinguished him 
above all the rest of his companions. Indignant at the 
infamous treatment experienced by his brother, he 
swore an oath of vengeance for the injury, and to ex- 
tend that vengeance to all that bore the name of Rus- 
sian. For the moment, however, he managed to re- 
strain his feelings, and, under the appearance of sub- 
mission, to gain the favour of his superiors, whilst at 
the very time he was secretly nourishing the flames of 
discord, and spreading the seeds of revolt. Under the 
pretext of avenging their outraged religion, he assem- 
bled a body of his companions, and proceeded privately 
with them towards the Don, in order, as he gave out, 
to free all the Cossacks from the Muscovite yoke. 
Pursued by superior forces, he pushed forward to the 


Volga, and, after having taken the command of all the 
robbers and banditti there congregated, and of as many 
Cossacks as he could gather together, he attacked and 
took possession of a rich caravanne, which the czar was 
sending to Persia, escorted by one of his favourites ; 
enrolled such of the soldiers as were willing to enter 
his service, and had all the rest massacred without pity, 
together with their officers. He then descended the 
Volga, gained the shores of the Caspian Sea, and sur- 
prised the town of Goui-ief, at the mouth of the laik 
(now Ouralsek). The fame of his robberies and his vic- 
tories brought him a numerous accession of partisans 
and of vagabonds attracted by the hope of plunder. 
Prince Khilkuf, the governor of Astrakhan, alarmed at 
his success, sent him a deputation of officers to offer 
him a free pardon, on condition of his returning to 
his allegiance to the czar. Razin received these officers 
at first with great politeness, and then had them all put 
to death in his presence. The governor, having some 
misgiving as to their fate, despatched a regular divi- 
sion of the army, under Siverof, against Stenko 
Razin ; but the latter, still retreating, enticed his pur- 
suer into a disadvantageous position, and cut his army 
to pieces. He then attacked and took by surprise the 
town of latskoy (Ouralsk), where he had all the officers 
hanged, and all the soldiers who refused to submit to 
his orders massacred. In this fortified position, at the 
-extremity of Russia, surrounded by fearful deserts, 
and by savage hordes impatient of the Muscovite yoke. 


he used every possible means to attach the half-savage 
Cossacks of the laik to his cause. He organised and 
disciplined his troops, increased his flotilla, and, antici- 
pating that he must very shortly be attacked, des- 
patched emissaries in all directions to rouse the spirit 
of insurrection. He descended the Volga, seized upon 
all the merchant-vessels, and annihilated the Russian 
fleet, that had just been sent out against him. He 
attacked Persia, after having augmented his forces by 
the incorporation with them of another famous band of 
Cossack corsairs, led by Krivoy, who came voluntarily 
to place himself and followers under his orders. In the 
course of a very short time they, together, sacked seve- 
ral towns, and beat the Persian army, giving out that 
they so did by order of the czar. As, however, the 
united force of Persia threatened to crush them at once, 
they retreated towards the mouth of the laik, amongst 
the islands, or rather forests, of reeds and osier-beds, 
which there formed an asylum inaccessible to any other 
vessels save their own light barks, and where they 
made provision of food, ammunition, and military 
stores, previously to recommencing their piracies and 
excursions for propagating rebellion. 

But the Russian court having by this time received 
information of their robber-like exploits, deposed 
Khilkuf, and ordered the governor of Astrakhan, 
Prince Prozorowskoi to set out immediately in pursuit 
of the two chiefs ; and to hunt them down without 
mercy or intermission. Aware of their place of 


Tetreat, he had the river closed up in the narrow parts 
with strong iron chains, and landed a body of troops 
in the rear of the Cossacks ; he likewise sent forward a 
squadron of well-armed ships of war, manned by his 
best sailors, to exterminate the Cossack pirates. 
Stenko Razin, thus suddenly enclosed as in a trap — • 
destitute, moreover, of sufficient stores and ammuni- 
tion to enable him to hold out for any continuance — 
despatched confidential envoys to Prince Prozorowskoi, 
with proposals of surrender, and of consecrating, like 
a second Yermak, his talents and the remainder of 
his life to the service of the czar, provided he was 
assured of pardon for his past acts of rebelHon. But 
at the same time that he was making these proposals, 
which he had every reason to anticipate would be 
rejected, he took every possible measure within liis 
power, to either conquer or perish in the struggle. 
Whether it was that Prozorowskoi hoped to turn 
his submission to some account, or that the chances 
of a sea-fight with such experienced corsairs as 
Razin and his followers, so often victorious, and now 
reduced to despair, appeared to him somewhat too 
doubtful ; the result was, that he accepted the latter's 
ofier of submission. Stenko Razin was amnestied ; 
and after he had renewed his oath of allegiance 
to the czar, was confirmed in the command of his 
troop of Cossacks, which were distributed along the 
banks of the Don. But what appears still more 
extraordinary, is the fact of the Czar Alexy never 


having in the sequel violated this amnesty. The 
thirst for vengeance, however, still raged in the 
bosom of Stenko Razin; the dead body of his 
brother was incessantly before his eyes ; he renewed 
his intrigues ; he was now observed to make a great 
display of his riches, — to be prodigal of his money 
to his friends and partizans, whom he confidentially 
gave to understand, by mysterious hints, that he would 
shortly be in a condition to renew with them the 
former course of profitable expeditions. By all these 
manoeuvres, joined to their natural impatience of an 
inactive life, and craving for booty, the eyes of 
all the Cossacks of the Don were gradually directed 
towards Stenko, who completely eclipsed the influence 
of Kernel Yakolof, their attaman. 

Seeing that the time had now arrived for throwing 
aside the mask of submission, and for taking an 
attitude of independence, Razin gave the signal for 
action. From the banks of the Don to those of the 
laik, nothing was now heard but one unanimous 
cry of " Long live Stenko ! down with the Russians !" 
All the officers who had been set to watch the 
Cossacks disappeared. Stenko started up once 
more on the Volga. In possession of a new 
flotilla, he destroyed the merchant vessels, ravaged 
both banks of the river, and massacred all those 
who hesitated or refused to attach themselves to 
his fortunes. A regular body of Strelitzes, sent against 
him, instead of opposing his troops, introduced them 


into the town of Tzaritch.ine, where all the Russians 
were put to the sword ; whereupon adherents flocked 
from every direction to join his cause, and his forces 
thenceforward rapidly increased in numbers. A 
division of the Russian army, under Livof, despatched 
against him, revolted ; massacred their oiEcers, and 
enlisted under his orders. Another division, sent 
from Moscow, proved more faithful, but less fortunate ; 
overpowered and cut to pieces, scarcely three men 
escaped. Tchernoiar opened its gates to the rebels. 
Prozorowskoi, shut up in Astrakhan, and anticipating 
a speedy attack, laid in a store of provisions, repaired 
the fortifications, took all possible measures to repel 
the assailants, and despatched courier after courier 
to Moscow, to solicit reinforcements. But symptoms 
of sedition already began to manifest themselves in 
the place ; the soldiers mutinied, and demanded their 
pay, and the metropolitan opened his treasures in 
order to appease them. 

In this state of things it was that Stenko Razin, 
dragging after him the scum and refuse of various 
robber nations, made his appearance before Astrakhan, 
and, assuming the mask of humanity, summoned the 
governor to throw open to him the gates of the city, in 
order to avoid pillage and massacre. The governor, 
by way of reply, had his messenger hanged from the 
battlements on the rampart. The bravest of the troops 
were now posted at the weakest points, and volleys of 
musketry were returned in answer to the insolent pro- 


position. In a short time, however, thousands of 
scaling-ladders were applied to the walls : the Cossacks 
mounted them with surprising audacity : instead of 
resisting them, the Russian soldiers received them as 
brethren. The result may be easily foreseen. Some 
of the officers, who wished to recall the troops to 
their duty, were instantly set upon, and, together with 
all those who were most interested in the defence of 
the town, overpowered and put to the sword, their 
houses pillaged, their wives maltreated, and their chil- 
dren thrown out of the windows. Stenko himself, 
drunk with brandy and carnage, and covered all over 
with blood, ran through all the streets, poniard in 
hand, in search of Prozorowskoi, whom he at last dis- 
covered lying wounded in a church. He ordered him 
to be thrown, in his presence, from the top of a high 
tower. By a singular accident, his body, crushed and 
mutilated, fell close by that of his brother, who also 
was mortally wounded and expiring. He then had 
Prozorowskoi's two boys hanged by the heels, under the 
pretext that, after repeated questions put to them on 
the subject, they refused to discover where the govern- 
ment chest was deposited. The metropolitan, who 
endeavoured to protect them, was put to death. The 
mother of the two boys was spared. A general pillage 
wound up this eventful day, ever memorable for Astra- 
khan, wherein all the Tatars were spared, as being 
victims of Muscovite tyranny. 

Now it was that, master of a city renowned for its 


commerce, and of several fortresses, with a fleet and an 
army at the extremity of Russia, Stenko Razin medi- 
tated the overthrow of the Romanow dynasty, their 
expulsion from the Muscovite throne, the abolition of 
serfdom, the extermination of the noblesse of the em- 
pire, and the erection into independent principalities of 
all those provinces which Russia had recently and per- 
fidiously seized from the Tatars and theii* allies, as 
likewise from other nations. 

A YSLiiety of singular circumstances existing at the 
period seemed to favour this project; amongst others the 
quarrel between the Czar Alexy and the patriarch 
Nickon, whom he had just deposed, and the recent 
death of his eldest son and heir to the throne, against 
whom it was generally supposed his father had con- 
ceived a deeply-rooted hatred. Stenko Razin resolved 
to turn these incidents to account, and to excite the 
Cossacks and other superstitious subjects of the czar 
to rebellion by an appeal to their feelings of religious 
fanaticism. To this end he caused a rumour to be 
circulated that both the patriarch and the czarewicz, 
(the heir apparent) having escaped, by miracle, from 
their oppressor, had fled to him for protection and ven- 
geance for their wrongs. In order to give confirmation 
to this rumour, he had two barks constructed, the one 
covered with red, and the other with black velvet. In 
the former was understood to be concealed the fugitive 
czarewicz,* and in the latter the injured patriarch. 
The ruse succeeded to admiration. From this moment 



Stenko was regarded by the multitude in no other light 
than as the guardian angel of religion and the champion 
of outraged liberty. All the fanatics, adventurers, 
and brigands, far and near, flocked to his standard, and 
his army already amounted to 100,000 men. In a short 
time he quitted Astrakhan, where he left 25,000 of his 
troops, and advanced up the Volga, to establish his 
head-quarters at Kazan, the ancient metropolis of the 
Tatars. On his way thither he took Saratof and Sa- 
marra, seizing on all the money he could find there, 
and putting all the E-ussian inhabitants to the sword. 
The whole of the Cossack and Tatar populations on 
his route, including the various scattered and bar- 
barian hordes, inflamed by his proclamations, and 
headed by their respective chiefs, declared for him. 
All the country, from Astrakhan to Nizny Novograd, 
was sacked and pillaged; the nobles were massacred, 
their wives dishonoured, and their dwellings set on fire, 
till at last Sineberik succeeded in arresting their san- 
guinary and devastating march. 

A division of the Russian army, under the orders of 
Miloflaskoy, who was instructed to retake Astrakhan, 
met with the rebels, whom they defeated; the latter 
retreated into the town, resolved to defend themselves 
to the last extremity, under the orders of Krivoy. 

Stenko Razin, after having gained several victories 
over the Russians, began at last to meet with nothing 
but reverses: defeated by Prince Boratynskoy, and 
pursued by the very same Dolgorouki who had caused 


his brother to be hanged in the Ukraine, he was over- 
taken by him just as he was, with his Cossacks, at the 
gates of Moscow, which would have been thrown open 
to him, had he not lost too much time in pillaging the 
provinces — a fatal delay, as the result proved, for 
Stenko, who, not having sufficient time to concentrate 
his army against Dolgorouki, was by that general 
surprised, and 15,000 men, the elite of his Cossack 
soldiers, suddenly fallen upon by superior numbers, 
were cut to pieces. Three times broken, three times 
they recovered the battle, but, panic-stricken at this 
unlooked-for disaster, the rebels fell from the height 
of confidence to the extremity of discouragement. The 
peasants returned to their several homes, the barbarian 
hordes fell off one after the other, and disappeared in 
the deserts, whilst the Cossacks, incessantly pursued by 
their victorious and implacable foes, who gave them no 
quarter, opposed but an inefiectual resistance. All the 
roads, towns, villages, passes, rivers, lakes, ponds, barns, 
and houses, were full of their mutilated bodies. 

In the ancient town of Arsamas, in the country of 
the Morduates, the terrible Prince Sergue Dolgorouki 
established his head-quarters. In the suburbs of that 
town, on a level ground, was a large square field, where 
was established the merciless tribunal which pro- 
nounced judgment and immediate execution on the 
rebels. There was a tent, and some clergy of the 
Greco-Russian church, where mass was daily celebrated. 
Before the chapel was the likeness of the czar, before 


whom every one was compelled to kneel. Behind the 
chapel was a rack, and on both sides of the rack were 
several rows of gallows, some miles in length, and in- 
struments of torture ready for the unfortunate victims. 
The punishments were in accordance with the degree 
of culpability and station in society of the rebels. 
In the first row of gallows the most guilty were exe- 
cuted; after being subjected to the rack they were 
quartered alive. The leaders had their right hand and 
left leg cut off, and were afterwards impaled on long 
spikes, and left to their horrible fate. Their groans 
were heard for miles, and their bodies feasted the 
eyes of the panic-stricken population. In the second 
row of gallows they were only quartered, and their 
sufferings were at least shorter. In the third row, 
the parties were simply beheaded. In the fourth row, 
they were merely hanged. In the fifth, they ran the 
gauntlet and the knout. All the ecclesiastics were 
burned. There were separate gallows for women, 
married and maiden. Even children, from thirteen 
years, were subjected to great cruelty. Married couples 
were occasionally hanged on the same gallows, as well 
as whole families. During the space of three months 
13,000 human beings were executed in the presence 
of Dolgorouki. Stenko Razin''s nephew and his parti- 
cular friend were quartered. 

Among the female prisoners there was a handsome 
nun, who over her female garments had a male attire. 
She commanded a corps of 7000 men, gave more than 


once proofs of extraordinary courage and great ability 
in the field, and inflicted terrible losses on the Russians. 
When summoned before Dolgorouki, she displayed a 
presence of mind and a firmness diflicult to describe, 
and said, if every one under her command had done his 
duty in such a manner as she had done, Dolgorouki, 
instead of erecting the gallows, would have taken to his 
heels. As for a nun in Russia to run away from 
a monastery is a capital oflTence, she lay down quietly 
on a funeral pile, and was burned to ashes. The 
dangling dead bodies of so many thousand veterans 
brought many crows and ravens, which devoured the 
corpses. From that time that suburb is called the 
suburb of hell.'* 

The likeness of the czar, the artificial church, the 
Greco-Russian priests in their black dresses with their 
long beards, the inquisitive auricular confession, the 
rack, the gallows, the instruments of torture, and the 
executioners, bring involuntarily to mind the dark 
ages of Muscovite tyranny, which, partly subdued by 
the spirit of our more fortunate age and the rising star 
of western liberty, is not yet completely vanquished. 
Stenko Razin, persecuted, chased and hunted without a 
moment's repose upon the Volga, through the Steppes, 
through the wildest tracks, trying in vain to recall and 
rally the fugitives, who were not less frightened at the 
ignominious death of their comrades, than at the danger 
of that merciless struggle ; seeing them partly disposed 
to deliver him up ; daring not to enter Astrakhan ; 


arrived at the Don, requesting the hospitality of the 
Hetman Yakolof, and hinting at the possibility of plan- 
ning new expeditions. But the latter, secretly offended 
against him, indignant at his cruelties, and wishing 
to take all possible advantage of that opportunity for 
ingratiating himself in the czar''s favour, betrayed him, 
put him in irons, and delivered him to the Russians, 
with his brother Frolko. The latter, being well aware 
of the terrible torments reserved for them both, re- 
proached him with all his misfortunes, shed abundant 
tears, and gave up his mind to despair. Stenko, whose 
spirit was not yet subdued, comforted him as well as he 
could, and said that the whole population of Moscow 
might yet liberate him, and hail him as their benefactor. 
The czar, having been apprised of their conversation, 
and wishing to make a public example of him, ordered 
that he should enter the city in a mock triumph. A 
spacious cart, drawn by three mules, was accordingly 
sent to meet Stenko E-azin a mile from the city. Here 
he was stripped of his fine silk clothes, put in rags, and 
chained by his neck and his two hands and feet to the 
hinder part of the cart, in which was a gallow, without 
being able to move, and attended by two executioners 
with their long axes. Thus, with his brother, who, 
chained by the neck, followed on foot, the cart entered 
at noon the metropolitan city. He was publicly exe- 
cuted in the citadel of Moscow, the 6th of June, 1671, 
having been quartered. To the last moment he never 
lost his firmness, but comforting his brother, mocked the 


executioners ; invoking the ghost of his brother, whose 
death he avenged, as he said, and to whom he seems 
to have been most tenderly attached. When one of 
his legs and one of his hands were cut off, he was 
whistling, and died without manifesting the slightest 
sign of pain. When his brother Frolko was going to 
be executed, he showed great contrition, and requested 
to see the czar, to reveal to him only a secret of 
great importance. His execution was postponed, and 
he apprized the czar of hidden treasures, buried by his 
late brother in a particular spot. As the information 
was found to be correct he was reprieved. 

After Stenko Razin's death, Astrakhan opened its 
gates to the Russians, and Krivoy, alias Devil's-feast, 
who wished longer to disturb the public peace, was 
poisoned by his own soldiers for his tyranny. The 
other attamans of the Cossacks were betrayed and de- 
livered up by a Circassian prince to the Russians, and 
some adventurers who intended to follow Stenko's ex- 
ample in the neighbourhood were quartered. Prince 
Dolgorouki, who destroyed above 115,000 rebels in- 
cluding his executions, was recalled, and Prince Tcher- 
niskif ultimately quelled to a great extent the serious 
rebellion, respecting which there are some contradic- 
tions. Some authors assert it was quelled in 1671, 
some in 1673, and others that peace and tranquillity 
were not restored till 1679. 

There is not the slightest doubt that had Stenko 
Razin, instead of spending a month in pillaging the 


provinces, marched directly to Moscow, he would have 
dethroned the czar. According to L'Eveque and some 
Russian authors, that rebellion cost the lives of 800,000 
human beings ; according to others of more, as anarchy, 
murder, and pillage reigned for several years after 
Razin's execution in distant provinces of the Russian 
empire, especially amongst the barbarous and predatory 
hordes and the serfs, in consequence of his proclama- 




Origin of the Zaporogues — Description of the Country formerly In- 
habited by them— Their Numbers, Customs, Laws, and Conditions 
of admission — Their Robberies by Sea and Land — Their Mode of 
Life, and Manner of Electing Chiefs — Wars with Turkey, Russia, 
and the Tatars— Their Independence— Cruelty of Peter the Great 
towards them — Their Treaty with Mazeppa — Surrender to 
Turkey — Submission to Russia, and afterwards to Poland — 
Massacre organised by Catherine — Their Incursion into the Polish 
Ukraine — Complete Suppression. 

It is extremely difficult to assign any fixed epoch as 
being that of the true origin and first establishment of 
the Zaporogues, whom many authors appear altogether 
to confound with the Polish Cossacks, of which race 
they were in some degree the parent stock. As, how- 
ever, they must not be entirely confounded together, it 
may be as well to give some of the reasons for our 
assertion, which, based as they are upon facts, in 
themselves indisputable, may give some approximate 
idea of the diflference which existed between the two, 
without attempting, however, to enumerate all these 
points of dissimilarity, a task which would involve too 
wide a digression from the main object of the present 


The Polish Cossacks did not, from the outset, con- 
stitute a body separate from the rest. The Zaporogues 
appear to date only from the 17th century: they were, 
originally, nothing but a militia corps, chosen from 
amongst the very bravest, the most expert, and the 
most active of the Cossack race — they were called prcB- 
sidiarii, and may be regarded as the first Zaporogues — 
especially appointed to guard the islands of the Dnieper 
(on which were situated the dockyard, the arsenal, and 
the treasury of the Cossacks,) during the absence of the 
latter on their piratical excursions. At a later period, 
this militia was reorganised by king Stephen Batory, 
in 1578, being registered and paid expressly for the 
defence of the southern frontier of Poland against the 
incursions of the Tatars, the Russians, and the Turks : 
they were always under arms, and upon active service, 
either on the islands or along the banks of the Dnieper ; 
and were to be changed or relieved in rotation. Sub- 
sequently, as we shall prove, this same militia separated 
from the main Cossack body, and formed a distinct 
community, retaining to the last moment of its existence 
the impress of its primitive descent. 

The Zaporogues were so named from the Polish 
words, za, beyond, and porog, cataracts ; that is to say, 
''the inhabitants or dwellers beyond the cataracts." 
One of their earliest stations was the island of Khor- 
chitza (forty miles to the south of Kiof), in lat. 50 deg. 
and long. 40 deg.^ 

In order to obtain admission as a member of the 


Zaporogue community at their first establishment, the 
candidate was required to pass, in his boat, the thirteen 
cataracts of the Dnieper; and this too against the 
current ; a feat which might well seem impracticable, 
even to a Hercules himself, were not the fact averred 
and attested by a host of eye-witnesses, and by several 
of the earlier historians, amongst others by Boauplan, 
Starovolski, Sherer, and many others. Further, he 
must have killed ten of the enemy; have made a success- 
ful excursion on the Black Sea ; profess the Greek faith, 
and be unmarried : to all which qualities he was to 
unite the minor recommendations of being able to hit a 
mark at a considerable distance with the ball from his 
carabine ; to transfix with an arrow a bird on the wing ; 
and to swim, several times in succession, across the 
Dnieper. At a later period, however, any robust and 
desperate brigand was eligible as a Zaporogue. Essen- 
tially free, in the enjoyment of the highest consideration, 
and of great privileges amongst the general mass of 
Cossacks, over whom they considered themselves to 
have, as they indeed possessed, a marked superiority, 
the Zaporogues appear to have entertained a sovereign 
contempt for all those who cultivated the soil, or addicted 
themselves to commerce. 

The country formerly occupied by the Zaporogues as 
their peculiar place of abode, extended on either bank 
of the Dnieper (including the islands formed by that 
river), over wide-spreading marshes and frightful 
deserts, rendered almost inaccessible by rocks and 


precipices, and eternally beaten by the raging waters of 
the cataracts, whose ceaseless roar might be heard for 
many miles round : a dwelling-place, rugged, dismal, 
wild, romantic, and solitary ; well fitted to its savage 
tenants, and capable of hardening men of even the 
mildest habits. Their head-quarters were shifted occa- 
sionally, but always so as to be safe from the attack of 
the Ottoman galleys, or of foreign cavalry. According 
to Sherer, they had three principal establishments on 
the islets ; namely, those of Khortchitza, Sednef, and 
Kaniof : these strongholds were surrounded by a pali- 
sade, a ring of chariots bound together with iron chains, 
and by a deep trench or ditch : occasionally they were 
defended by artillery, and by a species of embrasures 
for musketry or cannon. These war-establishments, 
plentifully supplied with arms, provisions, stores, and 
ammunition, were termed sicz^ from the Polish or 
Russian word, siec od siec — divide, cut up. 

It would be difficult to estimate the numbers of the 
Zaporogues with any approach to certainty, as they 
varied according to circumstances : in the time of their 
prosperity they may, according to Starovolski, have 
numbered forty thousand men, capable at all times of 
bearing arms : an assemblage of banditti more than 
sufficient fearfully to disturb the tranquillity of their 

At first, the Zaporogues made their incursions con- 
jointly with other Cossack hordes, or obeyed the orders 
of the kings of Poland : subsequently, however, when 


they had formed themselves into a separate community, 
they acted on their own account. Their organisation 
resembled that which they had formerly received from 
King Batory, a few slight changes or modifications 

The Zaporogues formed a species of military order 
or association ; or, rather, they may be compared, as 
regards the general features of their combination, to 
their contemporaries, the famous Flibustiers of the 17th 
century. They were governed by a supreme chief 
{attaman koshovy), whom they elected and deposed 
according to their own caprice. He had under him a 
secretary-general, pisar ; an auditor-general, a stafi*- 
major, assavula ; a lieutenant-general of artillery and 
engineers, and some other subaltern assistants. Besides 
the officers in question, nominated by themselves, as the 
country of the Zaporogues was subdivided into nume- 
rous districts or kourenes, each kourene had its own 
particular chief, invested likewise with the title of atta- 
man, whose rank corresponded as nearly as possible 
to that of colonel of a regiment ; and who exercised 
moreover a kind of civil magistracy in the administra- 
tion of the lands pertaining to his individual kourene. 
On the 1st of January, in each year, the Zaporogues 
assembled, with great pomp and bustle, in order to 
distribute their lands into as many portions as there 
were kourenes. Each individual of a district had, 
throughout the year, the right of hunting and fishing on 
his own kourene exclusively ; or, in other words, no 


Zaporogue belonging to any other kourene was per- 
mitted to interfere with his local privileges or to tres- 
pass on the grounds of his neighbour's kourene. 

After this partition, they deliberated on the fate of 
the chiefs of the preceding year, whom they either 
confirmed in office or deposed at pleasure. The latter 
awaited their sentence, standing. If the Zaporogues 
happened to be satisfied with the conduct of their chiefs, 
the latter bowed to the assembly and retired : if, on the 
contrary, the attamans had displeased the midtitude, 
they laid down the insignia of their dignity, and re- 
turned back as simple Cossacks to their respective 

The mob, by this time completely drunk, then pro- 
ceeded to the choice of the particular kourene from 
which should be selected the new koshovy; whom, 
having nominated and duly elected, the most sturdy of 
the drinkers and vociferators waited upon at his own 
dwelling, if he had been absent from the assembly, in 
order to announce to him his elevation. If he thrice 
positively refused to accept the proflfered dignity, they 
in the olden time killed him there and then. At a later 
period, they merely abused and maimed him. When, 
after the two formal refusals required by etiquette, he 
accepted the appointment, they announced, by sound 
of kettle-drum, his accession to the dignity of attaman ; 
and the most aged of the Zaporogues, taking up a 
quantity of earth, moistened with water or melted snow, 
plastered over therewith the face of the newly-elected 


chief, amidst the shouts and joyful acclamations of his 
companions. This rude and barbarous ceremony had 
allusion to his perilous and often short-lived dignity, 
seeing that if he might not happen to be killed in an 
expedition against the enemy, the Zaporogues usually 
massacred him themselves should he chance to be un- 
successful in war. It may be here remarked that, during 
a period of seventeen years passed by Boauplan in the 
Ukraine, there was not one single chief or attaman of 
the Zaporogues but who came to an untimely end. 

In addition to the ceremony of besmearing the face of 
the new attaman with mud, they stuck a crane's feather 
in his bonnet, and placed in his hands the baton of 
command : further, they forced him to swallow a mouth- 
ful of tar, giving him, however, a glass of water to wash 
his mouth withal ; and then they comforted him with a 
a glass of excellent hydromel (mead), which he was to 
gulp down at a single draught. 

There was also, occasionally, a second meeting held 
on Easter-day, for the purpose of renewing the koshovy, 
and the other principal officers under him. But for 
this convocation the assent of thirteen kourenes at the 
very least was required. Now and then, too, it hap- 
pened that party differences and squabbles arose, either 
respecting the kourenes or the relative characters and 
capacities of the various chiefs. Then it was that 
quarrels ran high, and disputes waxed hot; assuming 
the character of a domestic war, wherein the victor 
made the law, laid waste the kourenes of the vanquished^ 


and spread havoc and bloodshed. But this kind of 
intestine outbreak was not a normal condition of the 
Zaporogue confederation : such quarrels were by no 
means of very frequent occurrence, and were usually 
of short duration.'' 

The koshovy, all-powerful during war, had no great 
authority in time of peace within the sitche, where 
nothing could be done without the Starszyzna, or 
Council of Ancients. It must likwise be remarked, 
that neither the koshovy nor the principal officers under 
him received any salary whatever ; but, on the other 
hand, enjoyed certain emoluments, which varied accord- 
ing to circumstances and the success of the war in- 

A more frequent subject of tumult and disorder arose 
during the distribution of the booty, or of the pay 
granted to the Zaporogues by the kings of Poland. 
The meetings held for these purposes were called 
szodka, schodka, or mala kromada, i. e. minor assem- 
blies ; and they ended frequently with a fight. 

They were all lodged in vast barns, or wooden 
barracks. The members of each kourene ate with 
their attamans at one common table, supplied at the 
general expense. Their usual food consisted of every- 
thing calculated to render men strong and vigorous. 
But, out of the sitche, they ate whatever they pleased, 
and did whatever they listed. They were also at full 
liberty to quit their community whenever they chose ; 
but, whilst in the sitche, they were bound to conform 


to its regulations and usages. The most ancient of all 
their laws, and one which was ever enforced with the 
most extreme rigour, was that enacted for the utter 
exclusion of women from the sitche. Every woman 
who might happen to be caught therein was stoned to 
death, or, occasionally, after receiving one hundred 
blows from the kanczuk, or short whip, to the thong 
of which is appended a leaden buUet, she was hung 
up by the feet; a fire was then lighted under her, 
so that she was suffocated by the smoke. If, how- 
ever, as it sometimes chanced, a foreign young girl, 
altogether innocent, arrived in the sitche, they buried 
her in the ground up to her neck, a fire was lighted at 
a few paces before her, and she was shot at from a 
considerable distance. As the smoke from the fire did 
not allow of a steady aim being taken at her, the marks- 
man generally managed to miss her ; not unfrequently, 
too, by design. After three shots from the carabine 
she was released, without being subjected to any further 
outrage, and escorted outside the limits of the sitche. 
If she was wounded, she was not fired upon again ; but 
the whole kourene was called together, and the heroine, 
whose wounds had in the meantime received every 
possible care and attention, was set at liberty, with the 
now acquired privilege moreover of selecting from 
amongst the gallant Zaporogues whomsoever she pleased 
as her husband. All the Cossacks of the sitche 
made her a present ; by which means her support for 
life was secured, and she retired with her husband 


to establish herself in the Ukraine. Even the women 
carried oiF in their piratical expeditions and retained 
were not suffered to live in the sitche. The barbarous 
treatment experienced by several women at their hands 
sufficed not, however, to deter others from secretly 
visiting these Flibustiers, and from incurring all the 
threatened dangers of the attempt, in order to satisfy 
their inclinations or their curiosity. 

As to the pretended secret, or love-charm, of which 
some of the Zaporogues are by several authors related 
to have been in possession for attracting the fair sex, 
it may be considered in the light of a mere fable 
invented for the lovers of the marvellous, inasmuch 
as it is notorious that cases of the kind in ques- 
tion form an exception only amongst the generality 
of mankind, having no sort of relation either with the 
islets of the Dnieper, or with the banks of the Boh ; 
in point of fact, with no particular spot on the face of 
the globe.*" 

There existed, however, several strange peculiarities 
amongst the Zaporogues ; such, for instance, as a 
species of duel or single combat with the kanczuh, or 
loaded whip, before alluded to. The two combatants 
stripped off their upper garments down to the waist, 
after the fashion of the English boxers, and grasped 
each other by the left hand, whilst with the right they 
mutually dealt most terrific blows with their whips to 
the sound of military music, or of a kettle-drum, which 
beat time to their movements. These duels took place 


in the presence of tlieir companions. He wlio first fell 
exhausted, or who relinquished the further continuance 
of the conflict, was declared the vanquished party. 
Something of the kind existed amongst the ancient 
Tartaro-Kalmouques. The Zaporogues governed them- 
selves according to the laws of Magdeburg, which 
passed from Poland into their community. 

Although they professed generally the Greek reli- 
gion, and attended whilst in the sitche the celebration 
of divine service according to that ritual as there per- 
formed by priests sent thither from Kiof, yet they 
would not listen to sermons or religious exhortations of 
any kind ; and the diversity of faith amongst them was 
not productive of any serious dispute. 

Every Zaporogue Cossack was bound to be provided 
with a gun, a lance, a pennant, a crooked sabre, and a 
brace of pistols. His dress consisted of very loose 
trowsers, a sheep-skin vest confined by a girdle, and a 
felt bonnet trimmed with fur. Their heads were close 
shaven, with the exception of a long tuft of hair which 
hung down over the forehead. Their chief strength 
as a military force consisted at first in their infantry, 
armed with long, carabines, so indispensable in their 
corsair-like expeditions on the Czayki, and of which 
notice has already been taken : subsequently, however, 
they were by no means deficient in excellent cavalry. 

The Zaporogues presented a. strange mixture of 
virtues and vices difficult to be described. Merciless 
and cruel destroyers in their predatory incursions 


abroad, they were nevertheless just, hospitable, and 
humane at home. They possessed everything in com- 
mon ; the doors of their huts were never kept locked, 
and any stranger, without distinction, excepting a Jew, 
was in the day-time at full liberty to enter them 
unnoticed, and to help himself freely to whatever he 
might require, money excepted. Lost money and other 
articles of value were by the finder openly exposed in 
places of public resort, in order to be reclaimed by the 
proper owners. A thief, when apprehended, and his 
guilt clearly established, was fastened to a post erected 
in the centre of the sitche ; near him were placed a 
bottle of brandy and a stick, and every passer-by had a 
right to taste of the brandy and to beat the culprit. 

Amongst these ferocious banditti, who spared no one 
in war, the murderer of one of his companions in arms 
was buried alive, stretched out upon the body of his 
victim. A punishment no less terrible was reserved 
for that nameless crime, for the commission of which, 
as may well be supposed, the law already noticed enact- 
ing the rigid exclusion of women from the sitche 
would naturally furnish a fatal inducement. 

A Zaporogue was never permitted to remain for three 
consecutive days inactive : if no warlike afiairs were for 
the moment on hand, he must busy himself in the 
chase of the bear or the wolf, or in the fisheries, which 
were carried on in all seasons throughout the year. 

This isolated community of brigands and roving 
corsairs might have passed unheeded down the great 


stream of human events into oblivion, had it not been for 
the fact of their being entrusted with the duty of keeping 
watch and guard over the great frontier of Poland ; and 
were it not that their maritime expeditions had been 
fraught to surrounding states with very considerable 

When the Cossacks under Khmielnitski separated 
from Poland, the Zaporogues did not follow their 
example, but formed themselves into a distinct commu- 
nity, nominally indeed apart from and independent of 
the others ; but, in reality, never properly entitled to 
the rank of an independent state : for living as they 
did under the nominal protection of Poland, Russia, or 
of Turkey, and constantly changing masters, they in 
point of fact subsisted only upon the produce of their 
inroads upon their neighbours, by whom, consequently, 
and justly too, they were looked upon in no other light 
than that of pirates, lawless adventurers, and common 

The Zaporogues were in constant correspondence 
with all the other Cossack races, even with those at the 
remotest distance ; forming the nucleus or central point 
of every plundering expedition, and exercising over all 
the other tribes a marked influence and ascendancy. 

In the wars of Charles XII. against Russia, alter- 
nately cajoled and horribly maltreated by Peter the 
Great, they appeared to incline in favour of the czar's 
adversaries : they even, by the good offices of Mazeppa, 
concluded a treaty with the Swedish king at Dykanka. 


The details of this treaty are curious. The attaman of 
the Zaporogues, Horodynski, noted for the hatred he 
bore the Russians, placed himself voluntarily under the 
orders of Mazeppa. In order to celebrate this happy 
alliance with becoming splendour, a magnificent repast 
was provided for the entertainment of the Zaporogue 
deputies; Mazeppa, for the occasion, was obliged to 
borrow a quantity of plate from a nobleman of the 
Ukraine with whom he was lodging : and, as a further 
mark of his high consideration for his guests, he pro- 
mised that they should be introduced to the Swedish 
king, and have the honour of kissing his majesty's hand. 
Their koshovy, Horodynski, as likewise Mazeppa, 
having duly expatiated on the merits and extolled 
the glory of the royal warrior of the north, exhorted 
their subaltern chiefs to observe some kind of decorum : 
the latter swore on the Evangelists not to get drunk 
until after dinner, and received instructions as to the 
manner in which they were to comport themselves in 
the presence of his majesty and his suite. At the con- 
clusion of the dinner, however, and of the ceremony of 
kissing hands, they gave loose to the wildest demon- 
strations of gaiety after their own peculiar fashion, and 
began to make off with all the plate within reach, and 
on which their dinner had been served up. The maitre 
d'hotel hastened to reclaim it. According to their code 
of politeness, the Zaporogues regarded this interference 
in the light of an insult, and demanded reparation at 
the hands of their koshovy, more especially as they 


had fulfilled the conditions exacted from them as 
regarded their conduct during dinner : they threatened 
to break off the alliance, and to pass over on the instant 
to the side of the Russians, if the maitre d'hotel was not 
given up to them to be punished according to their 
summary mode of procedure. 

As it was to be apprehended that some of the 
Russian agents might take advantage of this untoward 
incident, the unhappy maitre d'hotel was delivered up 
to them. After they had jostled and pitched him about 
for some time from one to the other, he was ultimately 
despatched by a stab with a knife through the heart. 
Charles arrived too late to save him. According to 
the Zaporogue custom, a guest, provided he be not a 
Jew, invited to a dinner-party, is entitled to carry off 
with him whatever he may take a fancy to, with the 
exception of money or arms. The reader must pardon 
this slight digression illustrative of Zaporogue manners. 

After the battle of Pultawa, in which a great num- 
ber of them fell, the rest of the Zaporogues followed 
Mazeppa into Turkey, which they quitted however 
after his death. 

At a subsequent period, the Empress Catherine II. 
of Russia, flattered the Zaporogues by having 'her 
name inscribed in letters of gold in their public regis- 
ters, and employed them during the rebellion of 1768, 
under Zelezniak, against the Polish nobles. After the 
suppression of this revolt, partly by the aid of the 
Russian troops (Catherine's policy having in the mean- 


time changed as regarded this insurrection), a portion 
of the Zaporogues perished on the scaffold : another 
portion, faithful to Poland, took refuge in Turkey 
under !N ekrassa, whilst the remainder fled to their fast- 
nesses. But Catherine, uneasy at their existence, sud- 
denly despatched General Tekeli with considerable 
forces to crush them in their retreats. Surprised, sur- 
rounded, and attacked at all points, the Zaporogues, 
after a determined but ineffectual resistance, were com- 
pelled to surrender : the sitche was declared from 
thenceforth broken up ; the ancient Zaporogue territory 
incorporated with Russia (where it now forms the 
modern governments of Ekaterinoslav, Kharkof, and 
Tauride) ; and the very existence of the Zaporogues 
themselves, as a separate community, annihilated. A 
considerable body of them dispersed themselves in 
various directions. Amongst the remarkable incidents 
to which this obstinate, although ultimately fruitless 
resistance of the Zaporogues gave rise, and which 
characterised their last struggles for existence as a 
nation, may be particularized the heroic exploits of 
the last of the Zaporogue chieftains, Sava. 

Amongst other grave accusations laid to the charge 
of the Zaporogues, the chaste Czarina Catherine 
reproached them with leading a debauched and licen- 
tious life ! At a later period, those amongst them who 
made their submission to Russia, and declared them- 
selves willing to marry, received, by virtue of the Ukase 
of the 30th June, 179^, the right of territory over the 


island of Taman and all the country situated to the east 
of the Black Sea, between Kuban and the sea of Azof, 
as far as Labinskay Krepost, occupying in all a space 
of 1700 geographical miles. 

They are now no longer known under the name of 
the Zaporogues, or Cossacks of the Lesser Russia, but 
under the designation of the Cossacks of the Black Sea 
(Tsharnomortscy). They form twenty- six regiments 
constantly attached to the army of the Caucasus, and 
scarcely ever make their appearance on the left banks 
of the Dnieper. 

A single river separates them from the Cossacks of 
the Don, but there is a proverb extant among the Rus- 
sians, that a Cossack of the Black Sea is equal to three 
Cossacks of the Don; nor is there the least doubt that 
in point of ferociousness, of indomitable courage, and 
bodily strength, they are, as they themselves believe, 
infinitely superior to the latter. Proud, independent 
by nature, and waging eternal warfare in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Caucasus, they look with contempt on 
the Cossacks of the Don. In their songs they make 
frequent allusions to Poland and to the town of Kiof. 
Their favourite colour is that of Poland, namely, crim- 
son ; they detest the Russians ; they bear for the most 
part Polish names ; and there are still some vestiges of 
the Polish character amongst them. They are distin- 
guished from the rest of the Cossacks by the peculiar 
symbol of their tribe, and to which they formerly 
appeared to attach a sort of religious veneration, viz.. 


by a lock of hair, which rising from the top of the head 
falls down behind the right ear. Their lances too are 
much shorter than those of the Cossacks of the Don. 

The other branch of this famous race, which took 
refuge in Turkey under Nekrassa, and received a grant 
of lands on the Danube, was known under the name of 
the Cossacks of Nekrassa. During the last war of the 
Russians against Turkey, in 18^8, they remained faith- 
ful to Turkey, and testified by the horrible carnage 
they made of the Russian troops, several cavalry regi- 
ments of which they exterminated to the last man, 
their hatred towards Russia. Occasionally they took 
the Russian Cossacks by surprise by imitating their 
language and assuming their dress. They spread great 
terror amongst the Don Cossacks, upon whom they 
would likewise also fall by surprise, and whom they 
succeeded sometimes in deceiving by a similar strata- 
gem. They never gave them quarter. The Emperor 
Nicholas oiFered them very advantageous conditions to 
induce them to return to Russia, but they have hitherto 
rejected every proposition to this eifect. By the treaty 
of Adrianople the designation of '^Cossacks of Ne- 
krassa" is suppressed : they constitute at present a 
species of Ottoman militia, and may one day prove a 
powerful element of aggression against Russia. 

Such was this singular community of Zaporogues; 
unique, perhaps, in its kind, and concerning which we 
have gathered all the information possible, and con- 
sulted every accessible authority. Amongst others. 



Sherer, Annales de la Petite Russie, Memoires Secretes 
de la Russie, Miller, Bushing, Boauplan, Chevalier, 
Lessur, Neemeevicz, the Memoirs of Colonel Lagawski, 
Norberg, &c. The time perhaps is not far distant 
which may once more bring this remarkable race of 
warlike adventurers upon the scene of northern Asiatic, 
if not of European, affairs. As regards Russia more 
especially, their existence is fraught with considerations 
of the most serious importance. 




Mazeppa — His Extraction— Intrigue with the wife of Kontsky disco- 
vered — His Punishment — Preservation— Appointed Aide-de-camp to 
Doroszenko and Samoilovitch — Ingratitude towards his Benefactor 
— His Election— Shameful Conduct to his Sons— His successful 
Intrigues against Sofia, hated sister of Peter the Great, never 
clearly explamed— His Inroads against the Tatars of Otchokaf— 
His Successes cheering to Peter the Great in his Check at Azof— 
The taking of that Place chiefly attributed to Mazeppa — Favours 
lavished on his Cossacks — The leading Idea of Mazeppa against 
Peter the Great and the Kussians — His Intention to return to 
Poland with his Cossacks — Stratagem to escape — Correspondence 
with Charles XIL and Turkey— His skill in deceiving the Czar— 
His Stratagem for getting rid of his Enemies— His Danger— Blind 
Confidence of the Czar in his Fidelity— His Precautions before 
joining the Swedish King— His Deputation to the Czar, and his 
Intention discovered— His Speech to the Cossacks— Its Efiect— 
Sack of Baturin by Menzikof — Mazeppa's Effigy — Torture of 
Thirty Prussian Officers — The Czar's offers to Mazeppa rejected 
— Treaty with the Zaporogues — His advice to besiege Pultawa — 
Accidental Success of the Kussians— Unfortimate Position of the 
Cossacks— Danger of Mazeppa and the King of Sweden— Arrival 
in Turkey — Mazeppa's Remorse, and Death at Bender. 

Mazeppa was the son of a Polish gentleman esta- 
blished in Podolia/ and by one of those fortunate 
circumstances which often exercise a great influence 
on human destiny, and also by his family connexions. 


attracted the attention of John Kazimer, king of 
Poland, who spared no expense in giving him an 
excellent education, and made him page at his 

The beauty, accomplishments, and enterprising spirit 
of the young page did not fail of making a deep im- 
pression on many a fair lady in fashionable circles. 
He was introduced to the wife of Martin Kontsky, 
grand general of artillery ; and felt inspired at the 
first sight with a passion which, by frequent opportu- 
nities of seeing the beloved object, and the difficulty 
of gratifying its fancy, became every day stronger, 
more dangerous, and daring. For a while the passion 
of the two lovers by their mutual prudence and care- 
fulness was not known; and its secret gratification 
added new charms to its existence. Such a thing, how- 
ever, could not possibly be long concealed at a court, 
where jealous and watchful eyes were constantly 
directed on both parties. A lady, whose advances 
Mazeppa received with coldness, soon discovered the 
true object of the latter 's afiection, and indirectly 
apprised the husband of the conduct of his beautiful 
and guilty spouse. 

Mazeppa, watched secretly, was caught by the out- 
raged husband, who, indignant at the extent of his 
domestic misfortune, and excited by the thirst of 
revenge, ordered his men to scourge him unmercifully 
till he lost his consciousness, to pour a sort of salt 
liquid on his body, and cover it with tar. The young 


page was then tied by cutting strings to the back of a 
wild and indomitable Ukrainian horse, sought and pre- 
pared beforehand for that purpose, and was thus left 
to his destiny. 

The horse suddenly liberated after being tormented, 
and unable to shake the weight oiF its back, dashed 
at a furious speed into the deserts of his native 
steppes. Hunted by wolves, as well as by some Cos- 
sacks, who thought it an apparition of an evil spirit, 
the horse traversed torrents, ravines, rivers, crossed 
the Dnieper, and gallopped with incredible speed into 
a small town in the Eastern Ukraine on the market 
day ; and there, excited by hunger, fear, and fatigue, 
fell dead. Mazeppa, restored to life, and hospitably 
taken care of by the Cossacks, adopted their manners 
and religion, and became the favourite aide-de-camp of 
Doroszenko ; on the retirement of the latter, he became 
the aide-de-camp of Samoilovitch, an able Cossack 
chief, by whom he was treated in the most friendly 
manner ; an ungrateful return for which, however, was 
subsequently manifested by Mazeppa ; who, taking 
advantage of the unfortunate expedition of Samoilo- 
vitch into the Crimea, became his principal accuser, 
deposed him, and was unanimously chosen their leader 
in his stead. 

Not satisfied with his new position, which he owef' 
to his craft and ingratitude, and dreading the influence 
and revenge of the two sons of Samoilovitch, his bene- 
factor, he unjustly ordered one of them to be slain^ 


and sent the other through his intrigues to Siberia. 
These acts displeasing even his own partisans did him 
much harm and thwarted some of his mighty projects. 

Mazeppa, being well aware that only warlike suc- 
cesses could secure his authority among the Cossacks, 
in 1689 attacked the Tatars of Oczakaf, and vanquished 
them in several engagements. The following year he 
accompanied the expedition of Galiczyn into the Crimea 
with his Cossacks, which ended in the discomfiture 
of the Tatars. Mazeppa was rewarded by rich pre- 
sents and decorations. Soon after, by some means men- 
tioned by several historians but never well explained, 
he attracted the eye of Peter the Great, by hinting 
to him a dark intrigue, secretly put in motion, by 
which his sister Sofia and her favourite Galiczyn were 
humbled for ever. 

After the defection of Khmielnitski with his Cos- 
sacks from Poland to Russia, there were for a long time 
a certain part of the Polish Cossacks whose chiefs 
(attamans) were nominated by the kings of Poland. 
One of them, Paley, after defeating his rival Samuel, 
and exciting the jealousy of the Polish lords by his 
intrigues and wealth, passed over with numerous 
partisans to the Russians and acknowledged the supre- 
macy of Mazeppa, who at that time was the sole chief 
or attaman of all the Cossacks, but that act of sub- 
mission did not satisfy the daring adventurer. Paley 
was soon sent by his intrigues to Siberia, where he 

mained till the battle of Pultawa, and Mazeppa 



obtained some advantages in several minor military- 
expeditions, which gratified the vanity of Peter the 
Great, who, in spite of the loss of 30,000 men, could 
not master the town of Azof at first. When, however, 
that crafty prince, obstinate in his views for the con- 
quest of the Crimea, pressed that town with great 
vigour, Mazeppa, who got by accident secret intelligence 
in that town, requested his master to allow his Cossacks 
to storm it, which was accepted. The Cossacks, ani- 
mated by the thirst of plunder and encouraged by the 
presence of their chief, had already climbed its walls, 
when its commander surrendered the fortress at dis- 
cretion. Peter the Great, well aware of the importance 
of that town, which he attributed to Mazeppa's strata- 
gem, did not fail to consider him as his best friend, and 
never failed to show him marks of his consideration ; 
but as that prince had a sagacious eye, and was more 
than once frustrated in his views by the Cossacks, he 
ordered his generals to watch them closely, and did 
all he could to humble them, and, dividing them, 
quelled their insurrections by great atrocities. 

Though Mazeppa left Poland with revengeful feelings, 
and greatly contributed to the victories of Peter the 
Great, it seems he never lost completely the memory of 
Poland. In his heart he desired to be an independent 
sovereign, but he never wished to be under the Russian 
I yoke, and was besides this infinitely superior, by his 
education, to the generality of the Russian generals, who 
cast on him a jealous eye, and he was more than once 


obliged to submit tamely to great insults from his haughty 
master. Once, when the latter openly avowed the 
project either of exterminating the Cossacks, or of bend- 
ing them to the same obedience as his Russian subjects, 
Mazeppa ventured to remonstrate; when Peter the Great, 
excited by wine, threatened to punish his remark by a 
cruel death. From that time the hetman was more pru- 
dent, and adapted his language, his conduct, and even 
his dress, to his master's taste ; the better to deceive him, 
and so escape the watchful eyes of his numerous ene- 
mies, he feigned sudden illness, went to bed, displayed 
signs of sinking life, spake often of God, frequently con- 
fessed, and in his confessions more than once hinted 
into the ear of the priest that his services were not 
sufficiently great for repaying his master's favours, for 
whom he was always ready to sacrifice his life. He 
bequeathed part of his wealth to the priests, purchased 
indulgences, kissed their hands, showing them humi- 
liating submission, and though of vigorous health, he 
manifested all the signs of a speedy departure to the 
other world. During his dreams he often pronounced 
some words favourable to the czar, to whom everything 
was reported. In the meantime the hetman was 
secretly preparing the insurrection among the Cossacks ; 
his friends were hinting to them that the czar intended 
to make them slaves, to govern them as peasants, 
and transport them to Siberia, and that unmistakable 
documents were found on that subject; that those who 
were faithful to the Russians were traitors ; and some of 



them who were suspected to be so, were skilfully ex- 
posed to great dangers in their conflicts with the Turks 
and Tatars, where they perished. He found means to 
establish a correspondence with the sultan of Turkey in 
the most secret manner, as well as with Charles XII. 
For the latter he professed the greatest admiration, and 
promised to join him with all his men, to exterminate 
the Russian corps scattered in the Ukraine, provided he 
might have the duchy of Severy ceded to him as a 
principality, and also the title of hetman of all the 
Cossacks, whom he wished to bring back to the Polish 

Charles XII., however, seems to have been very 
careless about Mazeppa's promises, and had not much 
reliance on the Cossacks. Thanking Mazeppa for his 
offers, he advised him to postpone his defection. This 
unlucky delay placed the Cossack chief in a very 
dangerous position. Already alarming rumours re- 
specting his projects were propagated, and even the 
czar was apprised of them ; but Mazeppa played his 
cards so well, that the czar, considering as traitors all 
who suspected Mazeppa's fidelity, sent him, under a 
strong escort, his two principal accusers, Iskra and 
Kotczubey. Mazeppa was obliged to sacrifice them for 
his safety, and they were both kiUed by three strokes of 
sharp hammers on their heads in his presence (a punish- 
ment reserved to traitors among the Cossacks). The 
czar also, wishing to give him a more decided mark of 
his imperial favour, invited him to proceed to Kiof, 


to lay with him the first stone of the fortress of that 
town. Mazeppa, who had left his bed, convoked all 
the subordinate chiefs, and sent his own nephew Woy- 
naroski to the czar, requesting him to govern the 
Cossacks with more liberality. Before, however, that 
deputation reached Moscow, one of his letters was in- 
tercepted: the czar ordered Woynaroski to be imme- 
diately put in irons, and gave peremptory orders to all his 
generals to forcibly prevent the junction of the Cossacks 
with the king of Sweden. He liberated from Siberia 
all persons sent there by Mazeppa's influence. He 
also put in circulation the rumour that all the defeats 
of the Cossacks by the Swedes were attributable to the 
treason of their own hetman, who wished to reduce the 
Greek church to the caprices of the Pope and Luther- 
anian court. In fact, nothing was spared to blacken his 
character, and to lower him in their estimation. 

Mazeppa saw that the time was come for action. He 
therefore marched towards the Dnieper, collected pro- 
visions, put in a good state of defence the towns 
of Gotchi, Tchernigof, and especially Baturin, and 
joined the king of Sweden with 15,000 Cossacks in the 
vicinity of the river Desna. He soon after made a 
favourable treaty with the Zaporogues, renewed the 
correspondence with the Turks favourable to his cause, 
and neglected nothing that could improve the situation 
of the Swedish army, and contribute to the success of 
his projects. 

Peter the Great being well aware of the importance 


of the defection of the Cossacks in favour of Charles, 
did all he could to stop it ; and having been apprised that 
the Swedish king had forgotten to secure the post of 
Starodub, which could thwart all the efforts of the 
Russians to master the fortress of Baturin, where large 
stores of ammunition and provisions were amassed for 
the Swedes, he detached his favourite, Menzikof, with a 
large body of troops, to storm it. The latter marched 
with great haste through difficult tracts, took the town 
by surprise, burned and sacked it, and after putting the 
inhabitants to the sword, sent thirty Prussian officers as 
prisoners, with their general Koenigseck, grand master 
of the artillery in Mazeppa's service, to the czar ; who, 
after ordering his clergy to excommunicate Mazeppa, 
and to attach his likeness to the gibbet, sent them to 
the scaffold, where they perished by the most horrible 

The taking of this fortress by Menzikof was, per- 
haps, the most important step towards the ultimate 
victory of the Russians. Peter the Great, however, 
having heard that Mazeppa was indefatigable in victual- 
ling the Swedish army, offered him a complete oblivion 
of the past should he return to him again; but the 
hetman, well aware of his true disposition, and indig- 
nant at the atrocities which the czar had inflicted on 
his partisans, refused the offer, and wisely continued to 
be faithful to his new friend. 

Charles XII., after passing the most terrible winter 
of 1709 almost without shelter, advanced into the wilds 


of the eastern Ukraine ; and after several successful 
skirmishes besieged the town of Pultawa, situated on the 
right bank of the river Worskla, whei:e Peter the Grea^t 
soon arrived with 80,000 men and a^ouiac-rous'train of 
artillery. Without entering into the p^Jiicnl^ais. of; the- 
battle of Pultawa, it may be sufficient to ^tate, that 
it saved the Russian empire from a revolution, lowered 
the political importance of Sweden for centuries, and 
was gained over Charles XII., chiefly by a mistake of the 
Swedish general Kreutz, and the king''s illness. One 
portion of the Cossacks under Peter the Great fought 
with the others under Mazeppa. After the loss of that 
battle, Charles XII., attended by some Cossacks and 
the wreck of his army, retreated towards the Dnieper, 
constantly harassed by General Menzikof, who pressed 
them closely and gave no quarter to any Cossack; 
though several thousands of the Swedish veterans, so 
often victorious, whose very name struck terror in the 
heart of the Russians, surrendered. 

Charles XII., beaten, attended by Poniatowski, Ma- 
zeppa, and some of his most faithful friends, sick, and 
carried on a litter, reached at last with great difficulty 
the Dnieper, where some boats were prepared for 
transporting him to the other shore, and facilitating his 
progress to Turkey. Scarcely had Mazeppa and the 
king leaped into a boat when a terrible storm arose, and 
the angry waves dashed with such fury from the west 
that the greater part of the boats were broken, the 
boatmen drowned, and the hetman was obliged for his 


own safety to throw immense treasures into the river, 
which proved a watery grave to all those who attempted 
to swim through it. 

AfteralQUg, painful, and harassing journey, during 
.five days> with scanty provisions, without water, without 
shelter, without any visible track, through the romantic 
deserts of the mighty Ukraine, Charles XII., with his 
suite, and Mazeppa watching constantly the guides 
that they might not betray them, directing their steps by 
the stars, by the gusts of moaning winds, and the flocks 
of screaming birds, reached at last in safety the 
Turkish town of Otchakof, where they were most hospi- 
tably received by the Turkish pasha. 

Mazeppa was attended by the remainder of those 
celebrated Zaporogues, under the command of Horo- 
dynski their chief, who acknowledged his superiority 
before the battle of Pultawa. They received some lands 
by order of the grand seignor near the river Ka- 
mionka, and at first were allowed to govern themselves 
according to their own laws, and found, in their misfor- 
tunes, benefactors in those very Turks, whose land they 
formerly plundered and sacked so many times in their 
expeditions. In consequence of the great annoyance 
of the Russians, the scattered remains of the Zaporogues 
were obliged to retreat further towards the Crimea, which 
they did always governed by Mazeppa, who remained 
by the express wish of the king of Sweden near his 
royal person at Bender. There the aged, vigorous, and 
unfortunate hetman, who had passed through so many 


extraordinary scenes, whose long life resembled more 
an Ukranian tale than reality ; whose counsels, not well 
appreciated by the northern hero, were perhaps the 
principal cause of his downfall, charmed more than 
once the Swedish king by his flowing eloquence and 
brilliant conversation, always pertinent, and adapted to 
the meanest understanding. 

It is to be remarked, that in all the negotiations which 
Peter the Great attempted to make, either with the 
king of Sweden or with the Turkish government, he 
always requested the delivery of Mazeppa, for whose 
person he ofiered large sums of money. But the Turks, 
who never broke the sacred laws of hospitality, whose 
noble feelings and generosity are universally acknow- 
ledged, constantly rejected such proposals. And Charles, 
barbarous once only in his life towards Patkul, too 
proud to complain, and having a generous heart, attached 
to Mazeppa by the bonds of common misfortune, and 
judging men according to their real value, never 
dreamed of committing such a wrong. Soon, however, 
grief, imeasiness, inactive life, mingled probably with 
cutting reproaches of conscience and disappointed hopes, 
undermined Mazeppa's constitution and spirit, and he 
took poison, and died in the eighty-first year of his age. 

In carefully investigating the adventures of Mazeppa, 
we must acknowledge there is something mysterious, 
wild, and romantic in them, -^hich cannot fail to in- 
terest the fair sex, and which have been turned to such 
good account by the fervid genius of Byron. 


Without refusing the homage due to the great 
ability, accomplishments, and manly qualities of Ma- 
zeppa, we cannot, as an historian, refrain from pointing 
out also his ambition, ingratitude, and crimes, which 
can only be exceeded by the misfortunes of his early 
days. Under the cloak of sincerity and indifference, the 
crafty Mazeppa, whose features and words never be- 
trayed the secret thoughts of his heart, and whose dis- 
position was rather adapted to form an eastern tyrant 
than a ruler of the civilised world, was a perfect 
master in the art of dissimulation, and never failed to 
sacrifice, without any visible emotion, even the lives of 
his best friends for the gratification of his ambition. 
Liberal and impenetrable by nature, of abstemious 
habits, he easily wrested the secrets of another by a jest, 
a smile, or a word. His conduct towards Samoilovicz, 
his benefactor, whose innocent son he murdered ; his 
conduct towards Paley, and many other murders and 
crimes, are stains on his memory which cannot be 
washed away. He passed through the world like a 
gust of moaning wind in the desert, and to this hour the 
Ukranian people preserve his memory in their national 
songs. See Life of Peter the Great, Hist, de 
Charles XIL par Voltaire, see Voyage de la Motraye, 
Poiogne Pittoresque, Ncemcevicz, Lettres de Charles 
XII., rapportees par Norberg; Roulliere, Anarchic de 
Poiogne; Leclerc, Pufendorf, John Perry, Present 
State of Russia ; and Lesur, on the Cossacks. 




Zelezniaque — His Parentage unknown — Retires to a Monastery — 
Stanislaus Poniatowski — A Confederation of Nobles to expel the 
Russians from Poland — They attack Souvaroff— The King takes no 
part in the Insurrection — Wretched Means used by the Russian 
Ambassador to corrupt the Youth of Warsaw — Induces the King 
to withdraw his Troops from the Ukraine — Russian Priests excite 
a Rebellion against the Nobles in that province — The Empress 
Catherine encourages the Zaporoguian Cossacks to rise in arms — 
Zelezniaque leaves his Retreat, and is made their Attaman — He 
commits the most horrible Excesses through the Ukraine — Most of 
the Nobles destroyed, but a remnant take Refuge in Houmagne — 
Zelezniaque enters the town by Treachery, and butchers the 
Inhabitants — Polish Troops sent against him— Catherine disavows 
the Insurrection, and sends an Army to queU it — The Russian 
Colonel Goloriva pretends Friendship to the Rebel Chiefs — Zelez- 
niaque, after being Defeated by the Poles, seeks Protection 
in the Russian camp — Is made Prisoner, and the Outbreak is 
suppressed— Supposed end of Zelezniaque — His Person, Talents, 
and Character. 

Maximus Zelezniaque, whose very name inspires 
still a feeling of horror in the Ukraine, was a Zapo- 
roguian Cossack by birth. Traditional records fur- 
nish but few particulars of his origin and early 
life. After the commission of crimes, or, to say the 
least, of glaring irregularities, which his conscience 


disapproved, he retired as a penitent to the secluded 
schismatic^ monastery of Medvedovka. 

Catherine II., empress of Russia, had just placed 
upon the throne of Poland, one of her discarded lovers, 
Stanislaus Poniatowski, a Polish nobleman, whose 
weakness of mind, coupled with his debauchery and 
lascivious manners, drew down upon him the indignation 
of the Polish nobles. The mere puppet of Russia, he 
quietly crouched under the domination of Prince Rep- 
nin, the Russian ambassador at the court of "Warsaw ; 
Repnin, whose prodigality, licentiousness, and un- 
qualified effrontery, added to his craftiness, arrogance, 
and malevolence, proved a dreadful scourge to Poland. 

The majority of the Polish nobles, exasperated at 
the pusillanimity of their king, at a period when the 
greatest firmness and the most energetic measures would 
scarcely have been able to rescue Poland from ruin, 
at length began to entertain serious thoughts of either 
rousing him from his debasement, or hurling him from 
the throne. Universal indignation prevailed. Poland 
at that time was already governed as a Russian province, 
and a confederation was forthwith formed at Bar^ (a little 
town in Podolia, a southern Polish province), by Adam 
Count Krasinski, bishop of Kamienietz, his brother 
Michael, Pulawski, with his sons and nephew, and a 
few other leading Polish patriots, in 1768, in the month 
of February. The object of this confederation was the 
expulsion of the Moscovite party from the kingdom, 
and the elevation of Poland from the humiliation to 


which she had been reduced. Ere long, without arms, 
ammunition, regular troops, or pecuniary resources, 
they commenced a series of attacks against the Russian 
armies commanded by Souvarof, one of the ablest of 
the Russian generals. 

This daring and desperate enterprise gradually re- 
kindled the energy of the Polish nation, and menaced 
Russia with no inconsiderable danger. The initiatory 
acts of hostility were confined to a desultory warfare, 
which, unimportant as it first appeared, harassed the 
Russians greatly, allowing them no rest either by night 
or by day, and altogether demoralizing their soldiery. 
The regular troops of Poland, with their king, at first 
took no part in this war, appearing to favour it the 
more, in proportion as the alarm which it gave to the 
Russians, increased. Battles were fought in rapid suc- 
cession, and scarcely a day passed without some bloody 
conflict ; the combatants on both sides contending with 
the most savage fury. The Polish insurgents, dis- 
ciplined by daily experience, became, with every new 
conflict, more formidable to Russia ; and Poland might 
have been delivered from the Moscovite yoke, if more 
decisive measures had been taken in regard to the 
king, who formed one of the greatest obstacles to the 
success of this glorious struggle for independence. 
Repnin was commanded to employ every possible means 
for suppressing the insurrection ; and was enjoined to 
neglect no measures, open or underhand, for crushing it. 
The plans he adopted for accomplishing this object were 



indeed very extraordinary ; and they were successful to 
a certain extent, through one of those contingencies 
which bid defiance to all preconcerted schemes and 
previous calculations. It was known that many females 
of the higher orders of society were favourable to the 
insurgents; and, accordingly, he sent for twenty-eight 
young and handsome citizens of Moscow and St. Peters- 
burgh, and many other foreigners, all men in the bloom 
of life, whose elegance of person, pleasing manners, 
and splendid attire, could not fail to captivate the softer 
sex and thus to gain possession of family secrets. A 
bevy also of syren Pompadours came into Poland with 
similar intentions. Such attractive personages, sur- 
rounded with Asiatic magnificence, easily gained ad- 
mission into the highest circles ; while their numerous 
retinue, acting as inferior agents, endeavoured, accord- 
ing to the instructions they had received, to gain the 
good graces of the domestic menials by every art of 

Kewards and distinctions were not wanting to crown 
the fortunate. Those, indeed, of the male sex, who 
were commissioned thus to use their influence, were 
ordered likewise in secret, to tarnish the reputation of 
virtuous females, to turn them into ridicule, to dissemi- 
nate discord, to foment disunion, and to excite the 
Polish aristocracy to a violation of all sumptuary re- 
strictions. It was not long before Repnin was apprised 
that the insurgents were supplied with money and pro- 
visions by certain of the nobles. The Russian generals, 


however, acted with unceasing vigilance, and their con- 
sequent proceedings inflicted a greater amount of in- 
jury upon the confederates, than the often doubtful 
results of actual conflict. 

The second plan adopted for crushing the insurgents 
was dictated by the following circumstance. The 
Turks, having apparently afibrded secret assistance to 
the insurrection, which derived its principal resources 
from the Ukraine, and from whence, on the part of the 
nobles, the principal opposition to the king emanated, 
Repnin artfully contrived to persuade King Poniatowski 
to cause the Polish troops under Branetzki to be with- 
drawn from that province. After this had been done, 
two hundred priests of the Greco-Russian creed, with 
Basil, bishop of Tchegrine, at their head, an ecclesiastic 
of ability, but of unparalleled cruelty, craftiness, and 
hypocrisy, were sent into the Ukraine, for the purpose 
of exciting a rehgious rebeUion against the nobles. In 
every commune these vile emissaries secretly distributed 
in the night large casks filled with daggers for mas- 
sacreing, without distinction, all who did not profess the 
Russian faith. These murderous priests, not content 
with pronouncing blessings upon these daggers, thus 
consecrating them to the cruel purpose for which they 
were intended, gave complete and unlimited absolution 
from all their sins, to those who with lavish hand should 
spread abroad, carnage, conflagration, mourning and 
despair. The Zaporoguian Cossacks were persuaded to 
become the agents of similar horrors. All the monaste- 


ries of the schismatics that were in the Ukraine became 
so many strongholds for the rebellion, and this the more 
easily, as the country was at that time destitute of troops, 
and as the common people were for the most part under 
an impression (so effectually had the priests worked upon 
them) that the outbreak had been made in obedience to 
the mandates of the king of Poland. Proclamations 
were likewise disseminated throughout the Ukraine and 
amongst the Zaporogues, that the confederates of Bar, 
principally composed of nobles, were desirous to enforce 
the conversion of the population to the Church of 
Rome, or exterminate them without mercy: but that 
the Empress of Russia, holding the same religious 
tenets as themselves, would despatch 50,000 men 
to guard their liberties against the encroachments of 
their Polish masters. Then she raised Zelezniaque to 
the rank of Brigadier of Lesser Zaporoguia. The Zapo- 
roguians were at that time living, nominally, under the 
protection of Russia, Turkey, and Poland, but in reality 
they formed a distinct caste, maintaining relations with 
other Cossacks, and committing excesses wherever they 
were able. Catherine caused her own name to be in- 
scribed on their public register, in letters of gold, and 
took every opportunity of flattering them. In thus acting, 
she had a twofold object in view — to weaken Poland, 
and to lessen the numbers of a body she wished to ex- 
terminate. The Zaporoguians, as if blindfolded, fell 
into the snare she laid for them, lost all remembrance of 
their benefactor Stephen Bator y, forgot their mother 


country, were blind to their own interests, and seemed 
to have banished from their memory the cruelties of 
Peter the Great, and the terrible lessons they had re- 
ceived from that barbarous potentate. 

Intelligence of the prevailing consternation did not 
fail to reach the ears of Zelezniaque in his monastic 
retreat; a glorious spoil seemed to glisten before his 
eyes ; fr-om an ascetic he became a chief, and was pro- 
claimed attaman koshovy of the Zaporoguians. He 
began by secretly organising, in the dense and gloomy 
forests on both banks of the Tasmina, bands of incen- 
diaries and brigands, seconded by schismatic clergy and 
Russian officers. PoKsh Ukraine was soon overrun by 
these human demons.*^ The dark, fanatical Zelezniaque, 
surnamed the Hyena of the Ukraine, whose great 
strength of body, whose iron will, and tiger-like ferocity 
fitted him for the most daring enterprises, dashed at 
once into the career of crime ; uplifting the crucifix, and 
invoking the holy name of Christ, while he inflicted 
the most cruel punishment for the least disobedience of 
his commands. 

AU who were not of the Greek religion, aged men, 
women, children, nobles, serfs, monks, tillers of the 
soil, Catholics, Lutherans, Jews, aU were slaughtered 
indiscriminately. The entire province presented the 
spectacle of a town taken by storm. Cossack and 
rebel-serf vied with each other in acts of merciless 
cruelty : deep weUs were filled up with the dead bodies 
of infants ; nobles, females, and priests, were buried in 


the ground up to the chin, while the assassin torturers 
danced around them to the sound of music, amusing 
themselves at intervals with mowing off the heads of 
their victims, like the grass of the field. On the same 
gibbet were seen mothers and their children. Other 
details of the barbarous cruelty practised on females, 
and related by historians, are of too horrid and revolt- 
ing a character, to bear more minute description. They 
hanged likewise upon the same tree on the public high- 
way, a Polish nobleman, a priest, a protestant, and a dog, 
with the inscription " one and the same,^^ Children of 
tender years were fastened alive to other sufferers, thus to 
perish by a slow and dreadful death ; or, being incapable 
of resistance, while they were firmly held, they were 
poinarded or deprived of their eyes by Cossack boys 
not more than ten years of age. But here we must pause, 
the pen shrinks from tracing such inhuman deeds. The 
Jews, abominated more than others on account of their 
religion, were almost all burned alive ; nor did even the 
abjuration of their religion secure them from the stake. 
In the villages lay murdered women, and the mutilated 
trunks of adults and children crushed by the iron- 
bound hoofs of the horses.^ All to whom flight was 
possible, sought a doubtful safety in remote places ; 
while the whole of the nobles scattered throughout the 
Ukraine, fell. Examples were not wanting of serfs 
defending their masters with the utmost devotedness 
and bravery; most of the villages were taken by 
assault and burned to ashes; the inhabitants being 


slaughtered. A remnant of the Polish nobility took 
refuge at Houmagne, the principal fortified town of the 
southern part of the Ukraine, in which were stationed 
some Polish Cossacks under Gonta, and a few other 
soldiers. A dark plot was formed for taking it by sur- 
prise, and the undertaking unhappily succeeded through 
the treachery of Gonta. Under pretext of revictual- 
ling the town, Zelezniaque, with his ferocious bands, 
was introduced into it, at nightfall, by his agents; and, 
after a short resistance, eighteen thousand inhabitants 
were put to the sword. The slaughter lasted three 
days : atrocities which no power of language can 
describe were committed ; and while the massacre was 
being accomplished, the Russian priests pronounced 
blessings and chaunted h}Tnns of triumph. 

As the rebellion, daily increasing in intensity and 
extent, began to assume a very alarming aspect, some 
Polish troops, under Brigadier Stempkowski, in con- 
junction with a corps of faithful Cossacks under Ne- 
krassa, came up and gave successful battle to the rebels 
in several encounters. The general terror arising from 
this appalling outbreak at length arose to so high a 
pitch, that the court of St. Petersburgh was obHged 
to discountenance by an overt disavowal, the rebellion 
excited by its own instrumentality ; and to punish 
those who had taken a part in it. (See Lesur.) The 
main body of the Haidamaques still maintained their 
encampment at Houmagne under Gonta ; while Zelez- 
niaque was constantly sending out detachments to 



overrun the country, when a body of infantry and 
Russian Cossacks of the Don, under the command of 
Nolkin and Goloriva, suddenly showed themselves 
before the town. As the Poles under Nekrassa, who 
had cut up to the last man some troops of rebels, were 
advancing to engage in battle, the Russian general 
Kretchetnikoff despatched Colonel Goloriva to apprise 
the rebel chiefs of the impending danger. This step 
was crowned with complete success. Goloriva spoke 
in friendly terms, approved everything that had been 
done in the name of the czarina, drew up an ulterior 
plan of military operations, assisted in regulating the 
discipline, visited the chief officers, assured them that 
they would be defended in case of any sudden attack 
by the Poles, and completely won their confidence. 
The rebel confederates shortly after, while reconnoitring 
for information, fell in with the Polish vanguard. 
Beaten by this force and pursued by Nekrassa, they 
took refuge in the Russian camp, but Goloriva then 
adopted an opposite line of conduct, and after having 
hemmed them in on all sides, he ordered them to be 
thrown into irons, together with Zelezniaque and other 
chiefs. He then attacked and routed the rest of the 
Haidamaques conjointly with the Poles ; and having 
surrounded them, caused them to be sent back, to the 
number of eighteen hundred, together with Gonta, to 
General Branetzki, while he reserved to himself Zelez- 
niaque with a smaller number of Russian prisoners. 
The accounts relative to the death of Zelezniaque are 


contradictory. The end of his earthly career has 
never been altogether cleared of mystery, although 
no doubts remain touching the concluding scene of the 
life of Gonta. Some say that Zelezniaque, after the 
dispersion of the Ha'idamaques, was punished with 
the knout, and transported for life with all his family 
into Siberia : others assert that he succeeded in effect- 
ing his escape, and that he fell in a skirmish at the 
head of one of his detachments. Again, it is main- 
tained by others that he died at a very advanced age, 
a -voluntary recluse in a monastery at Moscow. This 
last statement appears to me to rest on an apparently 
good foundation, as I very distinctly remember having 
heard it on several occasions during my stay in the 
Ukraine. It is also confirmed by some of my fellow- 
exiles and countrymen, natives of that district. Zelez- 
niaque may have survived the punishment of the knout, 
though instances of this are very rare; he may also 
have been left for dead upon the field of battle, and 
there have returned to consciousness. 

The historical notices that have been published 
respecting him, agree in describing him as a man of 
middle stature and of extraordinary physical strength ; 
that he was fierce in aspect and sombre in disposition ; 
that his energies were inexhaustible, and that his very 
name excited an involuntary shudder ; that he was a 
religious fanatic, guided by the sincere impulses of a 
misdirected enthusiasm, and that he was neither crafty 
nor ambitious. He was at that time (in 1768) in the 


fortieth year of his age. He appeared to cherish an in- 
surmountable antipathy to the Jews, an antipathy which 
suffered no diminution to the end of his career ; and 
which was ascribable perhaps to the false notion mali- 
ciously propagated by the Russian peasants against them. 
During his meals, he often feasted his eyes with 
their dying agonies; he invented for these, his most 
hated victims, tortures which surpass all belief, and of 
which the bare idea makes the blood run cold. He 
was superstitious, and had a peculiar aversion for 
females of dark complexion ; and if they bore the least 
symbol of manhood upon their chins he burnt them 
as witches. In his features were combined the bold- 
ness of the lion and the fierceness of the tiger. His 
eyes glared with a fiery but sullen redness, which was 
quite in keeping with the solitary life he had passed, 
within hearing of the roar of the cataracts of the 
Dnieper. He had an enthusiastic veneration for the 
priesthood of his own creed ; and seemed to have a 
remarkable predilection for prophets so called, and 
astrologers. His voice was like the bellowing of a 
bull. His portrait, which I saw several times in my 
early boyhood, did not belie the execrable historical 
character of the prototype. See Lesur, Histoire des 
Cosaques; Tuczapski, Madame Crebs, fille de Mado- 
novicz. Description de la Rebellion des Haidamaques, 
Lelevel, Colonel Logoski, Swientski, Ferrand les trois 
Demembremens, Niemcevictz, and Czaykoski. 




Born a Serf of Cpunt Pototski — Raised from his station, and made 
Chief of the Cossacks— Houmagne— The Empress Catherine 
foments discord in the Ukraine — Mladanovicz sends him to relieve 
Houmagne — A Polish Deputation make him large offers to secure 
his co-operation — Is persuaded to desert the cause of his Country — 
Joins Zelezniaque, and opens Houmagne to his ferocious bands — 
Assists at the dreadful Carnage perpetrated there — Assumes the 
command of the Rebel Army — Is defeated by Nekrassa and the 
Polish troops — Takes refuge in the Russian Camp, and is made 
prisoner with Zelezniaque, by Goloriva, who was sent by the 
Empress to queU the Rebellion — Gonta is condemned to a cruel 
death, and his family exiled to Siberia— Branetzki the Polish 
General — Many Polish Families driven from their homes— Induced 
to return, they are massacred — Dreadful state of the Ukraine — Its 
desolations, and awful sacrifice of human life — Gonta's Character 
— The present Count Pototski and his sister the Countess Kieseleff 
emigrants from the country. 

If the guiltiest deeds that darken the annals of the past, 
if the savage ferocity of the tiger^ and the subtlest 
wiliness of the fox, if great versatility of mind and 
unexampled perfidy, united to the loftiest ambition, 
have at any time rendered a brigand chief notorious, 
no one has better deserved so detestable a renown, 
than the man who is the subject of this biographical 

118 GOKTA. 

Gonta was originally a serf, professing the Greco- 
Kussian religion, and was born at Rosuszl^i, a small 
village belonging to Szczesny Pototski, palatine of 
Kiow, the capital of the Ukraine. This nobleman was 
possessed of immense riches, and was the owner of the 
town of Houmagne with all its dependencies. Since the 
year 1760 he had confided this property to the care of 
a skilful steward named Raphael Mladanovicz. This 
man, seeing that the greatest portion of the land about 
Houmagne was lying uncultivated, and that with proper 
agricultural attention its value might be increased, 
erected farm-houses in convenient localities, and assigned 
them to industrious tenants at a very moderate rent, on 
condition of their making good roads, and using every 
means to augment the revenue of his master. At the 
same time he endeavoured to secure the well-being of 
the palatine's subjects and dependents. He then 
improved and ornamented the town of Houmagne, 
repaired the houses and streets, and established schools, 
which he placed under the direction of men esteemed 
for the excellence of their character. For the security 
of the town and its vicinity, in addition to a certain 
number of regular troops, there were some regiments of 
militia formed from the relics of the ancient Polish 

Houmagne soon became a flourishing place, and its 
liches and prosperity rapidly increased. As its inhabi- 
tants were composed of a mixture of Roman Catholics, 
members of the Greek catholic church, and of the Greek 

GONTA. 119 

non-united schismatic church, several priests of the 
Koman and Greek churches came hither for the pur- 
poses of education and proselytism. This caused some 
alarm among the clergy of the Greek church.* An ill- 
feeling was engendered, and mutual calumnies and 
recriminations, with the various bickerings of religious 
animosity, followed in their train. 

Gonta, living under the protection of Mladanovicz, a 
courtier by nature, and gifted with much acuteness of 
intellect, contrived to insinuate himself into the good 
graces of his master, the Palatine Pototski; who, 
highly appreciating the valour and abilities of his 
vassal, gave him the command of his Cossack troops. 
He also ameliorated his condition, enabled him to con- 
tract an advantageous marriage, and placed him in the 
proprietary tenure of two villages for a rent almost 

Gonta did not at first show himself unworthy of his 
master's bounty, and appeared to be actuated by a 
devoted attachment to his benefactor. As he at all 
times lived in perfect harmony with Mladanovicz, to 
whom he confided his two sons ; and as the palatine's 
high opinion of him was daily increasing, Gonta was 
entrusted with the command of all the baronial or 
seignoral troops in the neighbourhood ; and was cajoled, 
humoured, and flattered, as always happens in similar 
circumstances. Availing himself of all the advantages 
he enjoyed, he gained extensive influence and great 
consideration in the Ukraine ; and became the favourite 

120 GONTA. 

of all the Cossacks, over whose minds he had obtained 
a powerful ascendancy. 

In the meanwhile the empress of Russia, alarmed at 
the progress of the confederates of Bar, and having 
been apprised that there was a misunderstanding 
between Felicyan Volodkovicz, the metropolitan bishop 
of the united Greek church, and Melchisedeck 
Javorski, the superior of a schismatic monastery of the 
Greco-Russian faith, resolved to take advantage of this 
circumstance in order to bring about a definitive and 
permanent disunion, and thus facilitate the rebellion 
of the common people against the nobles. She accord- 
ingly despatched her emissaries into all the Greco- 
Russian monasteries, situated for the most part in 
isolated places in the depths of the forests of Tasmina, 
as well as on the confines of the steppes of the Ukraine. 
These delegates, by their insidious counsels, as we have 
already mentioned, were the original authors and 
abettors of the rebellion of Zelezniaque. But it 
appeared to her of the utmost importance to gain pos- 
session of the town of Houmagne, in which great num- 
bers of the nobles had taken refuge, in order that she 
might have a point of support for giving an eflfectual 
impulse to the revolt ; and this it seemed impossible to 
do without the concurrence and co-operation of Gonta. 
Zelezniaque, at the head of the Haidamaques, made 
himself master of Medvedovka, Zabatine, Smila, 
Zvinigrod, and captured the castle of Lysianka by 
stratagem, as well as several other places. He then 

GONTA. 121 

pursued his march at the head of his bands, distributing 
arms to the peasants as he passed along, and, preceded 
by numerous schismatic priests, arrived near to Hou- 
magne. Gonta, the chief of the Cossacks, ha%dng 
incurred suspicion, Mladanovicz apprised him of the 
fact, and accused him of tampering with the fidelity of the 
troops under his command. Gonta exculpated himself 
by protestations of gratitude, and renewed his oath 
of fidelity at the front of his Cossacks, drawn up 
in array. The confidence formerly reposed in 
him by Mladanovicz was, by this public declaration, 
renewed ; and he sent him with one of his friends to 
convey provisions into the town, at that time crowded 
with fugitives, and to give battle to the bands of 
Zelezniaque. During this time General Nisse, then 
holding the chief command in this country, withdrew 
his forces from the town, in conformity with secret 
orders he had received. He also clandestinely induced a 
Prussian major, who happened to be in the neighbour- 
hood for the purpose of making a purchase of horses, 
to follow his example ; so that there remained in the 
town but a very small number of soldiers, for the most 
part invalided, who could not be openly withdrawn at 
so short a notice, without causing alarm to the inhabi- 
tants. These soldiers were sacrificed. A political 
problem had to be solved, and the blood of a few infirm 
men was not to be spared under the working of the 
Machiavellian councils of the cabinet of St. Petersburgh. 
After the retreat of the confederates, and the with- 

122 GONTA. 

dravv^al of the regular troops, and the departure of 
Gonta, a sudden horror, a dark presentiment of coming 
ruin, seized every heart. 

In this phase of events, the arrival of Nekrassa was 
expected. Nekrassa was a young chief of Polish Cos- 
sacks, whose known valour, high military talents, and 
implacable hatred to all that was Russian, gained him 
the utmost confidence and esteem. He was to effect a 
junction with the troops of Gonta, after having gained 
some recent advantages over the Haidamaques as well 
as the Russians. No breath of suspicion had tarnished 
the high principles of patriotism and honour by which 
he was actuated, and it was asserted he was in possession 
of such knowledge as would unmask the dark perfidy 
of the Moscovite cabinet. Gonta was near Sakolovka, 
when Nekrassa joined him, at the head of a small depu- 
tation of Polish nobles, in order to concert measures 
for saving the town of Houniagne, which could only be 
done by immediately attacking the Haidamaques under 
Zelezniaque. To secure the co-operation of Gonta, a 
large sum was offered him by this deputation, in the 
name of the Polish nobles, an equal sum from the Pa- 
latinate Pototski, together with the property of two 
villages as an heir-loom to his family, to be selected at 
Gonta's own choice, from his vast domains. To these 
gifts were also to be added a high commission in his 
troops, a,nd Mladanovicz was to arrive with the legal 
documents of the cession of the two villages, the names 
of which were to be inserted in the title deeds, accord- 



iiig to the direction of. Gonta. Having listened to and 
discussed the proposals of Nekrassa, Gonta accepted 
them, and a final arrangement seemed thus to have 
been efiected. 

By a strange fatality, however, Mladanovicz did not 
make his appearance with the expected papers. Gonta, 
perhaps not without reason, attributed his absence to an 
evasion on the part of the palatine, relative to the dona- 
tion of the villages. Mladanovicz, who was no stranger 
to the intended enrichment of Gonta, might have been 
jealous of losing even a small part of his master's pos- 
sessions, and his bhnd devotedness might have made 
him forget that it is sometimes the soundest policy to 
be generous from interested motives. Nekrassa and the 
ortier members of the deputation had no sooner taken 
leave of Gonta with a favourable reply, than Basil, 
bishop of Tchegrine, of the Greco-Russian faith, sud- 
denly came into the presence of the wavering chief- 
This ecclesiastic was the principal organiser of the re- 
bellion, and he was aided in his godless design by two 
hundred priests, who were then sanctioning bloodshed 
and murder by their blasphemous preachings thi'ough- 
out the Ukraine. Basil was the bearer of titles and 
presents for Gonta, and by high-sounding promises on 
the part of the Empress of Russia, he endeavoured to 
prevail upon him to declare himself against the Poles, 
to join Zelezniaque, and to deliver -up the town of 
Houmagne. He represented to him that the king of 
Poland was secretly favourable to the rebellion, and 

124 GONTA. 

that he was borne out in this assertion by the conduct 
of Branetzki. Still all the insidious persuasions of this 
infamous prelate seemed incapable of alienating Gonta, 
who, in expressing his refusal, dwelt upon the bounty of 
the palatine his benefactor. At these words the Rus- 
sian prelate, with Satanic joy beaming in his looks, in- 
formed Gonta that the palatine, whom he till now had 
deemed his benefactor, had been guilty of criminal 
conversation with his wife ; and he placed before Gonta's 
eyes written evidences of the truth of his allegation. 
It is not known, and perhaps it never will be known, 
whether the letters which he exhibited to him, and 
which Gonta believed to be in the handwriting of his 
wife, were authentic or fabricated. That fac-similes of 
writing are sometimes undistinguishable from the genuine 
copy is well known. Authors vary in their statements 
relative to the production of the letters: we have 
heard the fact averred by many persons, and have read 
it in the Memoirs of Colonel Lagowski, who spent a 
part of his life in the Ukraine. After reading the 
letters, Gonta's countenance betrayed the anger that 
was raging in his heart: the inward struggle escaped 
not the scrutinising eye of the wily delegate, who scarce 
had time to renew his subtle persuasions, when Gonta 
declared against his country. The Cossacks under his 
command fraternised with the Haidamaques under Ze- 
lezniaque, in a small wood called Grekhova-lasek, ren- 
dered famous by this event. When the junction had 
been effected, the army of the rebels confessed them- 

GONTA. 125 

selves, with their chiefs, on this spot, and received abso- 
lution firom the Greco-E-ussian priests, arrayed in their 
sacerdotal robes, to carry on a war of extermination 
against their unoflfending fellow-creatures. 

Gonta, by the abominable stratagem of pretending to 
re-victual the town, succeeded in taking possession of 
Houmagne at the close of day, and so artfuUy did he 
concert his plans, that Zelezniaque's forces gradually 
advanced, and seized the most important posts, while 
the inhabitants still believed themselves in safety. 
Mladanovicz had an interview with Gonta, whose 
treachery now became apparent, and to endeavour to 
soften his heart, he conducted to him, his (Gonta's) 
two sons, who had been confided to his care. The 
people flocked to the churches, in which mass was 
celebrated, that they might be prepared to meet the 
fearful doom which now appeared to be inevitable. 
We have before observed that the garrison was com- 
posed of a few feeble and infirm soldiers. All resis- 
tance was therefore vain. The inhabitants were or- 
dered to bring out all their efiects into the public 
squares and open places, to ransom their lives with 
all the property they possessed. These orders had not 
been fully executed, when Gonta murdered his two 
sons with his own hand. He then commanded that 
Mladanovicz should, in his presence, be transfixed 
with pikes through his body, and borne along by a 
party of the soldiers. Thus perished Mladanovicz 
in the most horrible agonies. The inhabitants, to 

126 GONTA. 

the number of eighteen thousand, were put to the 
sword ; and although the greater number of the nobles 
defended themselves with the courage of lions, all 
were massacred. The bloody orgies lasted three days. 
A few young females, on their conversion to the 
Greco-Russian faith, were saved, being purified with 
holy-water, and assigned by lot to the Hai'damaques.'' 

After this terrible event, Gonta, who took the command 
of all the rebels, pursued the work of carnage. Detach- 
ments of troops pillaged Granof, Toplik, Daszof, Tul- 
czyn, Monasterzyska, Haysyn, Bossovka, and Ladiszyn, 
while the inferior chiefs carried desolation as far as 
Balta, on the banks of the Dniester, in the Pobereze, 
and even to Turkey, as well as to the environs of 
K'low. Soon after, however, some bands of the Haida- 
maques were completely exterminated by Nekrassa 
with his Polish troops. The communes of Ositna, 
Kuzminogrobla, Subska, Siennitsa, and Podwysokie, 
signalized themselves by an heroic resistance and an 
unalterable attachment to their masters, who nobly 
recompensed them. 

The main body of the Haidamaques still remained 
at Houmagne under Gonta and Zelezniaque, when a 
detachment of Don Cossacks under Goloriva, and a 
body of Russian infantry under KretchetnikofiT, appear- 
ed in the vicinity of the town. Both these officers 
had received secret instructions to observe the Haida- 
maques, and to gain the confidence of their chiefs. 
Goloriva visited these officers, gave them counsel. 

GONTA. 127 

and performed his mission with considerable ability. 
When the troops headed by Nekrassa began to defeat 
and pursue the Haidamaques in every direction, 
Gonta with his chiefs went to visit Goloriva, who 
received them with courtesy and marked politeness. 
Then, having secured their horses so as to prevent 
their escape, he suddenly changed his tone, and threw 
them into irons. He then attacked and routed the 
Haidamaques conjointly with the Poles, who sur- 
rounded them on all sides, and delivered up Gonta 
with eighteen hundred of the rebels to General Branet- 
zki by the orders of Kretchetnikoff. Branetzki found 
means to convey a secret message to Gonta, to assure 
him that if he would observe strict silence and make 
no oral declaration, he would save him from impending 
death ; but the same messenger was charged with an 
especial order to Goloriva that he should command hia 
Cossacks to cut out the tongue and chop off the right 
hand of Gonta, under some frivolous pretext, in order 
to prevent him divulging state secrets. It is to be 
remarked, that after the murder of his two boys, 
Gonta's mind was partly deranged. He could never 
sleep nor take any rest ; he constantly fancied he saw 
the ghosts of his children and of his mother cursing 
him. He spoke often to them in the dead of the night; 
and before his execution, which took place in Novem- 
ber, he bore already all the weight of the punishment 
of his horrible crimes. When one of the Haidamaques 

K covered the son of Mladanovicz, a boy of ten years 


of age^ who escaped death by accident, and conducted 
him to Gonta, the latter, moved by pity, not only saved 
his life but took care of him, paid him the greatest 
possible attention, and seems to have been particularly 
fond of that child, who, well acquainted with him, con- 
stantly asked what became of his father with tears and 
lamentations. He twice escaped almost certain death, 
and was only wrested from Gonta's arms half-an-hour 
before his execution. It is also to be remarked that, 
after the rout of the Haidamaques, when Gonta entered 
a small cottage near Serby, he discovered in it a female 
whom he had seduced in his youth, and who had pre- 
dicted to him, captivity and a terrible death. She was 
a natural daughter of a Turkish prisoner, and a Bohe- 
mian woman. She had received a good education and 
possessed great accomplishments, and was for a long 
time the acknowledged mistress of General Branetzki> 
who, even after his marriage with the niece of Potem- 
kin, secretly visited her. This woman (Marylka) had 
a tame fox which followed her everywhere and of 
which she was very fond. General Branetzki passing 
accidentally through the village saw the well-known 
fox entering the barn; he soon concluded that his 
mistress must be there, and followed it; but found 
Gonta kneeling at the feet of his former affection. 
From that time he felt for him an intense hatred, which 
was never abated. Marylka had a child, which was 
carried off by the Tatars, and not being able to recover 
it, she fell into deep melancholy, disappeared, and in- 

GONTA. 129 

habited for many years tinder another name, an isolated 
dwelling on the banks of the Dniester. She had the 
reputation in the neighbourhood of having connexion 
with evil spirits. (See Memoirs of Colonel Lagawski) . 
Goloriva acted in strict conformity with the instructions 
he had received. Gonta was condemned at Serby, with 
every necessary formality, to undergo publicly the 
terrible punishment of the hooks, of mutilation, and 
death ; and he was executed in the presence of a great 
many eye-witnesses at the head-quarters of Branetski. 
The severity of the punishment he underwent was 
augmented by incredible barbarities, and the survivors of 
his family were sent into perpetual banishment in Siberia. 
The booty carried off by the Haidamaques (November, 
1768), which amounted to a considerable sum, was divided 
for the most part between Branetski and Kretchetnikoff 
and some of the inferior officers. Although Branetski 
appeared to be devoted to Russia, and although he had 
married the niece of Potemkin, a marriage which 
brought him great riches, all accounts agree more or 
less in ascribing his apparent zeal to his desire to usurp 
the throne of Poniatowski, while he detested the 
Russians in his heart. For whenever intoxication un- 
locked the secrets of his breast, he rarely concealed the 
antipathy he had against them. Doubtless he was not 
free from dissimulation, but he was certainly endowed 
with considerable talent, and if he had ascended the 
throne of Poland he would likely have saved that un- 
happy country. But Russia well knew with what sort 


130 GONTA. 

of a man she would have had to deal, and Branetski 
remained without further promotion. After the death 
of Gonta, the Haidamaques being routed everywhere, 
were executed by thousands in all the southern parts of 
Poland. They were hanged, they were quartered, they 
were beheaded, during the space of several months. 
The greatest number of them suffered at Leopold, 
Lysianka, Berdyczew, Zytomirz, Kodnia. 

During the massacre of the rebellion, a great many 
Polish families, driven from their houses by fear, 
wandered shelterless in the plains of Moldavia. The 
hospodar, however, was ordered to cause them to with- 
draw from his province. They had then no asylum nor 
place of refuge whither they could betake themselves ; 
but as the Turks were favourable to Poland, it was 
suggested to them, that they shoiild proceed further into 
the heart of the country, to be more removed from the 
observation of the Russian agents. They accordingly 
retired into the interior of the province, when the 
Russians proclaimed the restoration of tranquillity in 
the Ukraine, and invited them to return, that they 
might repossess their estates, to prevent them falling into 
the hands of unauthorised occupants. This was a dark 
and infamous snare laid to entrap them ; and all those 
who returned during the year 1769 were put to the 
sword, by a new band of assassins organised by Ty- 
mienko. The dissolution of all social order was universal 
throughout the Ukraine. No one who was known to 
have signed the confederation of Bar escaped destruc- 

GONTA. 131 

tion. Persecution, anarchy, and vengeance, exercised 
their direful sway during the space of several years, and 
the judicial executions did not cease till 1773. It is 
not possible to determine the exact number of those 
who were the victims of this terrible outbreak, more 
terrible, perhaps, than any which history records. 

In the space of a few months the Ukraine was changed 
from its flourishing and beautiful aspect into a vast 
desert, where " death and fire had altogether gorged 
the spoils of victory." Five towns, sixty boroughs, and 
a thousand villages were destroyed; more than two 
hundred thousand of the inhabitants, without reckoning 
those that were assassinated by Tymienko, lost their 
lives. The number of judicial executions amounted to 
six thousand ; a number more than sufficient to entail 
upon the authors of this sanguinary carnage the exe- 
crations of posterity to the remotest ages. The Russian 
agents doomed beforehand to the scaffold those whom 
they excited to revolt in the sacred name of religion, 
while Russian policy reaped in this expedition two 
advantages — the subjection of the Ukraine, and the 
weakening of the Zaporoguians. 

The most numerous body of Haidamaques, under 
Zelezniaque never amounted to more than fifty thousand 
men; but there were several other bands under dif- 
ferent leaders. At this time there lived in the Ukraine 
an aged Cossack, named Vernyhora, who by his in- 
fluence and humane feeling, often prevented the shed- 
ding of blood. He even predicted the fall of Poland, 

132 GONTA. 

but also foretold its future regeneration. The con- 
federation of Bar was fraught with more danger to 
Russia, than any other insurrection hitherto directed 
against her. 

Gonta was a man of middle stature, and was thin, 
beardless, and feminine in his features. He had 
neither the ferocious look nor the vigorous frame of 
Zelezniaque, but he surpassed him in quickness of in- 
vention, and in the arts of dissimulation. There was an 
evident perfidiousness lurking in his cat-like eyes ; but 
he seldom looked his interlocutor in the face, while the 
honied words of persuasion flowed from his lips. He 
paid the penalty of his fiendish career in the very 
prime of his life. The town of Houmagne still exists ; 
its ancient fortifications were razed by the orders of the 
Russian government in 1812, and a wooden palisade 
now only surrounds it. Its owner. Count Alexander 
Pototski, is amongst the emigrants from his country. 
He was a colonel in the Russian army, and only a few 
weeks before the conclusion of the last fruitless irrup- 
tion against the Russians he put on the Polish uniform, 
which cost him a little kingdom. This nobleman is 
passionately fond of music ; he is a genuine lover of the 
fine arts, and is remarkable for the suavity and amenity 
of his manners, as well as for his many excellent 
qualities. His features and look are Ukrainian. He 
often resides in Paris, and appears to attract the 
admiration of the ladies of high rank by his elegant 
conversation and dignified manners. It is said that he 

GONTA. 133 

refused to avail himself of the amnesty in which the 
emperor of Russia intended to include him. He is the 
brother of the amiable Countess Kisielef, whose charm- 
ing disposition, united to a romantic turn of mind and 
distinguished elegance, were,'a few years ago, the theme 
of admiration in the high circles of Parisian society. 
This it is said excited the jealousy of the czar. 

In sketching the political events of the Ukraine, and 
the fate of the two principal Moloch-destroyers of its in- 
habitants, during the sanguinary rebellion which has been 
the subject of our narrative, we may for a moment em- 
ploy our imaginations, while thinking of that soil which 
has imbibed the gore of so many of the unhappy sons of 
men. "We may contemplate the cupolas of the churches, 
reflecting the red rays like waves of blood from the 
broad crimson disk of the setting sun, and we 
may console ourselves with the reflection that blood 
barbarously shed cries to Heaven for vengeance; 
thousands of accusing voices will be raised to the foot- 
stool of mercy, and Heaven is just. 

See Anarchic dePologne; Pamietniki XiedzaMlada- 
nowicza; the works of Lesur, sur les Cosaques; Life of 
Catherine II.; L'Histoire de Pologne, by Lelevel; La 
Pologne Pittoresque; W. Took; Les trois De- 
membremens de Pologne, par Ferrand ; Cox's Travels ; 
Swientski, &c. 




Origin not well known — The last among the Cossack chiefs faithful to 
Poland before her ultimate partition — Celebrated among the Cos- 
sacks — Comes late to the Confederation of Bar — His deadly hatred 
to the Russians — Raised by the sole ascendency of his character and 
his military talents to a command of small Corps composed of the 
Polish Nobles and the Polish chosen Cossacks — Performs extraor- 
dinary feats of valour — Beats successively several Russian Gene- 
rals — Seldom gives Quarter — Takes in five months fifteen pieces 
of cannon, one hundred waggons, and two chests — Is the terror of 
the Russians — Advises to make an Insurrection among the Cos- 
sacks — Combines the Polish valour with the patience and cunning 
of the ancient Cossacks — Pressed by Sauvarof, fights a hard 
battle at Szrensk — Already victorious, receives a gun- shot in the 
leg — Deposed in the forest of Pszasnysz — Betrayed by a Jewish 
surgeon — Delivered to the Russians —Dies from ill-treatment— The 
ablest among the Confederate Chiefs. 

The exploits of this, the last of the Cossack chiefs 
who remained faithful to Poland, are of sufficient 
importance to merit particular notice. Weakened and 
disorganized as were the Cossack body by the defection 
to Turkey of Nekrassa and his adherents, the remnant 
still constituted a formidable power, at the head of 
whom Sava immortalized his name by prodigies of 
valour, and by his consummate skill in the art of 
partisan warfare. 

SAVA. 135 

Sava was, originally, a Cossack of the Ukraine, but 
was animated by feelings of the most implacable 
hatred against all that bore the very name of Russian, 
and by a burning thirst for revenge against the 
barbarians who had murdered his relative and com- 
mitted unheard-of atrocities in Poland. He enlisted 
into the confederation of Bar, and, in a short time, 
without name, without influence or protection, and 
by the sole aid of his natural genius and the 
ascendancy of his firm and energetic character, he 
acquired the friendship and esteem of the confede- 
rated chiefs, and created for himself a position of 
superior command. 

Fighting after the manner of the ancient Cossacks, 
from whose traditions he had drawn the resources of his 
genius as a military tactician ; subtle, persevering, and 
impenetrable in his plan of operations ; at once cunning, 
daring, cautious, and intrepid; wary, active, and yet 
intangible to the enemy ; suffering near him neither 
rival nor confidant, he spread carnage and destruction 
amongst the Russians, to whom he scarcely ever gave 
quarter or respite. He defeated in succession a num- 
ber of Sauvarofs best lieutenants ; gaining over them 
a series of briUiant advantages ; seizing upon their 
baggage-trains, cutting off their communications ; exter- 
minating their detachments, and falling constantly 
either on the flanks or on the rear of their columns. 
He shifted about from place to place with almost fabu- 
lous rapidity, and allowed no rest, whether by day or 

136 SAVA. 

night, to the Russian armies. All the expeditions 
attempted against him utterly failed one after the other, 
and Sauvarof himself, who by order of the Empress 
Catherine had put a price upon his head, could not 
refrain from testifying repeatedly his admiration of the 
outlawed Cossack chief. 

Amongst other unfortunate results of the failure of 
the confederates' plan of operations, badly concerted by 
the foreign general Dumouriez, who was defeated 
by Sauvarof, and which proved so disastrous in its 
consequences to the confederation of Bar, Sava, who 
from the first had disapproved of the arrangements 
in question, being suddenly pursued by the Mite of 
Sauvarof 's army, consisting of far superior forces and 
a numerous train of artillery, was driven on the night 
of the 25th April, (1771), between the defiles of 
Szrensk. Thus hemmed in within the narrow limits 
of two dykes, the intrepid partizan warrior faced 
about, and resolved either to die on the spot or to 
cut a free passage for himself and his troops over the 
bodies of his pursuers. The conflict was fierce and 
desperate on either side, and lasted the whole of the 
following day. Sava repeatedly rallied his cavalry 
under the murderous Russian fire of grape-shot and 
musketry ; he took, lost, and retook five times in suc- 
cession the fatal dyke : and having at last found a 
lateral passage towards Przasnysz, he succeeded in 
striking down all that opposed his exit at this point, 
and had mounted to the roof of a house, to give from 




thence the last orders to his already victorious troops, 
when a gun-shot shattered his leg. Fearing that this 
accident might damp the ardour of his soldiers, 
he had himself carried amongst them on a litter, 
encouraging them by his presence, and directing their 
final attack. He had, indeed, the satisfaction of be- 
holding the Russians beaten and pursued, but unable 
longer to support the increasing agony of his wound, 
aggravated by the motion of the litter, he gave orders 
to his troops to continue their march, and had himself 
secretly conveyed into the interior of a neighbouring 
forest. But a Jewish surgeon who attended him gave 
information of his retreat ; he was delivered up to the 
Russian Colonel Salomon, whom Sava had often 
defeated ; and who, astonished at the capture he had 
thus made, treated, it is said, with aU possible kindness 
the unhappy chief, to whom he ordered that every 
attention should be paid. But Sava, exasperated by 
pain, and disdaining to owe any kind of obligation to a 
Russian, whom he never by any chance spared, tore 
the bandages from his wounds, opened them afresh, 
and enlarged them with his nails, pertinaciously refus- 
ing to accept of the projBfered aid. Subsequently he 
was claimed by Sauvarof, who, in revenge for the 
repeated discomfitures which his lieutenants had met 
with at the hands of the now helpless Sava, over- 
whelmed him with insult, treated him with cruelty, 
and finally, exasperated by his haughty answers, had 
him put to death. 

138 SAVA. 

Such was the end of this terrible partizan chief, who, 
with his own hand, killed thirty-two Russians, defeated 
them several times in the field, and who contemplated 
raising the whole of the Cossacks in open insurrection 
against Russia. In order to form some idea of Sava's 
military capacity, it may be remarked that, in the short 
space of five months, having scarcely 1,800 men, he 
had destroyed three Russian divisions, had taken fif- 
teen pieces of cannon, two military chests, one 
hundred military waggons, eighty officers, and some 
standards : and all this at a period when the Russian 
army was in its highest state of efficiency and dis- 

His advice to the confederates had always been that 
king Poniatowski should be dethroned or killed 
without much ado, and that Repnin and Drevitch 
should, if possible, be caught alive, in order that they 
might be torn to pieces limb from limb. The latter 
had ordered the right hand to be severed from each 
of three hundred confederate prisoners, and it is said 
that he himself cut off the hands of nine of these 
unfortunate victims, whom he afterwards paraded 
through the streets of Warsaw. Sava, by way of 
retaliation, had the soldiers of this Russian man-butcher 
put to the sword without mercy. 

Kazimir Pulawski, Sava, and Zaremba were beyond 
all doubt the three most able chieftains of the Con- 
federation of Bar. Pulawsld defeated Sauvarof once, 
and was in his turn twice defeated, but rose again more 

SAVA. 139 

formidable than ever. We have just mentioned the 
fate of Sava. 

Zaremba, formerly a major in the army, was never 
once beaten nor taken by surprise. Impatient of any 
superior command, he could never be brought to make 
his operations subservient to any combined or para- 
mount plan of attack ; consequently, he always acted 
individually, or in a manner on his own account. At 
a later period, nevertheless, losing all hope of ultimate 
success, he deserted the cause of the Confederation, 
abandoned his troops, and went over to the Prussians, 
by whom as well as by the Russians he allowed himself 
to be corrupted. 

In the course of the struggle against this famous 
Confederation, the Russians lost upwards of 65,000 
of their best troops. 

The fate of the principal Confederates was singular. 
Krasinski, the Bishop of Kamienietz, succeeded by his 
extraordinary activity to make hostile treaties to Russia, 
with Turkey and Saxony, and died, with his brother 
and F. Pototski, a natural death. The old Pulawski, who 
was a lawyer of Prince Czartoryski, unjustly accused 
of treason, died in irons at Constantinople, and before 
his death gave his blessing to his sons provided they 
did not avenge his death. One of his sons was taken 
prisoner and sent to Siberia, where he fought under 
Pugatchef, the other and his nephew were killed at 
Lomazy, and Kazimir, the last, went to America, and 
was killed at Savannah. 

140 SAVA. 

There arc still extant in the Ukraine a host of popu- 
lar songs or ballads commemorating with tolerable 
fidelity not only the tragical end of Sava, but likewise 
his victories over the Russians, his attachment to 
Poland, and the leading exploits of his adventurous 
life. They all bear, as did also the character of Sava 
himself, the easily perceptible impress of that bias for 
the sombre, the romantic, and darkly mysterious in 
poetry, which has ever been the peculiar mark of the 
inhabitants of the Ukraine. 

See Anarchic de Pologne, by E-oulhiere ; Les trois 
Demembremens de Pologne, by Ferrand; Life of 
Catherine II. ; the works of Lelevcl ; and Pologne 




An ancient Lieutenant of the Polish army — Resides near the borders 
of the Ukraine — Drills a detachment of the Polish insurgents in 
the middle of the Russian armies — Surrounded by the Russian 
Regulars, vanquishes them — Breaks several squares of the Russian 
infantry with yoimg men who had never been under fire — Pro- 
ceeds to Miendzyrzec, in Volhynia — Marches through the Russian 
armies in the night as Russian Cossacks— Orders to speak Russian 
— Destroys a Russian detachment — Marches towards Poland— Gal- 
lant afiair before the village of Novosilki — Cuts to pieces the Rus- 
sian infantry regiment of the Duke of Wellington — Makes his 
junction with . the Polish army near the fortress of Zamosc— Is 
made a Colonel— Gallant affair at Hza, where he kills the Colonel 
of the dragoon regiment of Kargopol, and routes superior forces — 
Rises in fame — Excites jealousy — Beats superior Russian forces — 
Intends to raise the whole of the Russian provinces against Russia 
— Dreaded and beloved by his soldiers, inspires great confidence — 
Is never vanquished, and maintains rigid discipline to the end of 
the war — Great military and administrative capacities — The only 
Partizan of note in the last War — Believes in the success of the 
Insurrection in the Ukraine on a large scale — Adventure of the 
Marquis of Douro and the Emperor of Russia— Their misimder- 
standing — Douro leaves Kalisz — Returns to England. 

In the late war by Poland against Russia in 1831, a 
war so badly conducted, and the disastrous results of 
which are to be attributed more to the incapacity of its 
directors than to any other cause, there shone forth. 


nevertheless, some military characters well worthy of 
admiration and renown ; and amongst which must 
certainly be included Charles Rozycki, of whose vic- 
tories I shall now endeavour to trace a rapid but faithful 

Rozycki was at the time a retired officer, residing on 
the borders of the Ukraine. No sooner did he per- 
ceive that circumstances afforded him an opportunity of 
serving the cause of his native country, than he con- 
trived to form, to organize, and to animate with his own 
ardent spirit, in the midst of hostile Russian forces, and 
as we may say, indeed, in their very teeth, a detachment 
of light cavalry, mounted and armed according to the 
ancient Polish-Cossack fashion ; at the head of which, 
surrounded as he was by infinitely superior numbers of 
the enemy, he made good his escape, and, subsequently, 
performed a series of brilliant achievements. 

After surmounting the greatest difficulties, and the 
fatigues and hazards of a twenty- five days"* march, he 
succeeded in joining the Polish army near the fortress 

Promoted to the rank of colonel, he soon became 
conspicuous for his enterprising bravery; constantly 
breaking through their squares of infantry, and routing 
every squadron of cavalry he attacked, he became a 
terror to the Russians : and even towards the end of this 
war, and in the midst of the general anarchy and dis- 
order of the Polish army, he managed to maintain, in 
his own regiment, the strictest discipline; so that his 


name spread consternation and dismay to such an 
extent, that the Russians, who well knew his detach- 
ments, more than once evidently avoided measuring 
their forces with them. 

The intrigues of petty rivalship, the mean and sordid 
machinations of jealousy, and more especially the miser- 
able incapacity of certain pretenders to miKtary talent, 
whose measures served but to engender mistrust and 
discouragement throughout the army, prevented the 
really splendid talents of Rozycki from being adequately 
and efficiently employed ; nay, on more than one occa- 
sion it was but too apparent that these very soi-disant 
patriots, who were incessantly blaming every thing, 
inventing nothing ; and who, in point of fact, at the 
most critical and important juncture, purposely checked 
or withheld the forces organized for the defence of the 
country ; were absolutely desirous of getting rid of him 

As Rozycki was the victor in several engagements^ 
and as I am unable, for the moment, to procure 
access to the details of all his military successes^ 
I shall here confine myself to a relation, and that too but 
cursory and incomplete, of such only of his principal 
military achievements as appear to me to contain the 
most striking points of interest. 

When Rozycki left his native district, he had with 
him but two hundred horsemen and fifty carabineers. 
Out of the two hundred troopers there were but 
seventy-three who might be properly said to have been 


tolerably well armed ; that is to say, with regular lances, 
the rest had nothing save long wooden poles, tipped 
with large iron nails sharpened to a point. Amongst 
this little troop of insurgents, was here and there to 
be seen a sabre or a pistol; the carabineers, famous 
marksmen it is true, had neither much ammunition 
nor good carabines ; the whole troop, in fact, was 
wretchedly armed. 

Scarcely had Rozycki quitted his village, when seve- 
ral detachments of the Russian troops intercepted his 
road : other bodies of the enemy followed close upon 
his little band. 

In front of a wood on the road by which he must of 
necessity pass, three battalions of Russian infantry 
marched forward to meet him, and immediately formed 
into squares ; the enemy's cavalry was fast closing upon 
his rear. 

Rozycki saw plainly that there was no time to be 
lost. He gave instant orders to his troops to attack the 
first square of infantry; the attack succeeded; the 
young insurgents, who had never yet stood fiire, dashed 
upon the square, which they cut to pieces ; the second 
and third were in like manner broken and destroyed : 
a small number of the fugitives rallied in the wood. In 
the interval, the Russian cavalry had come up; had 
deployed, and were preparing to charge ; on perceiving 
which, Rozycki caused his own to retire slowly: 
the Russian horse kept following close upon their heels. 
Suddenly, Rozycki, finding that there was now a wall 


covering one of his flanks, halted, faced about, and at a 
given signal, the insurgents being excellently mounted, 
fell like lightning upon the enemy's cavalry, to the cry 
of " Death to the Muscovites ! no quarter !" The 
Russians gave way, and were in an instant broken, 
defeated, and pursued with great slaughter ; but they 
were in great numbers ; they endeavoured to rally near 
a garden wall ; E-ozycki, however, had anticipated this 
manoeuvre, and had secretly posted aU his carabineers 
behind the waU, under favour of a dry ditch running 
behind it, and along which, at the commencement of 
the action, they had passed unnoticed, by creeping with 
their heads held down. For the moment, he delayed to 
harass the routed, but now rallying enemy, with his 
reserve ; waiting the favourable instant for augmenting 
their confusion and taking advantage of their disorder. 
On a sudden, at the word " paV (signifying «^ fire !'' in 
Polish), the carabineers, who had taken steady aim at 
nearly every Russian cavalier of note, making a simul- 
taneous discharge, brought down several of the Russian 
officers, as likewise a great number of men and horses. 
The most terrific disorder ensued ; Rozycki's reserve 
now made a desperate charge, and so scared the Russian 
cavalry, that they broke through and trampled down 
their own infantry. The latter, indeed, closing again, 
attempted to advance to renew the engagement ; but 
were cut to pieces and nearly exterminated. Rozycki, 
after having collected together all the muskets, sabres, 
cartridges, and sound horses, pushed forwards on his 


march ; taking the precaution of breaking down all the 
bridges he left behind him on his road. 

In this brilliant action he lost but very few of his 
own troops, and did considerable damage to the 
Russians. Its result was, to raise the courage and 
greatly increase the confidence of his adherents, whose 
conduct on the occasion was indeed admirable. 

A few forced marches brought him to Miendzyrzec 
(Miandzirjetz), a town in Volhynia, now belonging to 
the Princess M. Radzivill, (by birth Countess Alex- 
andrina Stecka, ' Stetska,' ) a lady, whose intelli- 
gence, superior mind, and noble sentiments, joined to 
her many accomplishments, elegant manners, and 
various other advantages, both natural and acquired, 
might well render their possessor worthy to adorn a 
throne. Her husband had, from the commencement 
of the war of 1831, the nominal command of the entire 
Polish army ; a post in which he conducted himself in 
all respects as became a man of honour. After the fall 
of Warsaw, he was taken prisoner by the Russians, and 
sent in exile to Siberia; whence, after the lapse of a 
few years, he was, by the exertions of his wife, and the 
intercession in his behalf of the court of Prussia, per- 
mitted to return to Warsaw. The Miendzyrzec in 
question must not be confounded with another town of 
the same name, situated about fifty-eight miles (EngHsh) 
to the east of Warsaw, belonging to Prince C. Czar- 
toryski; and, in the neighbourhood of which there was 
a battle fought on the 29th of August, 1831, wherein 


the Russians, although far superior in number to the 
Polish forces, were completely beaten; and at which 
battle the author was present. It was in this engage- 
ment that a single Polish regiment, the 5th of the line, 
led by Colonel E-ychlowski, exterminated, with the 
bayonet, three entire Russian regiments, in a cemetry. 
To return, however, to Rozycki. As the news of the 
remarkable victory he had just gained had already pre- 
ceded him, his arrival was welcomed by the ringing of 
all the church bells ; the whole population poured out 
of the town to receive him. Money, provisions, and 
horses, were furnished him in abundance; whilst a 
swarm of young schoolboys rushed into the street, kiss- 
ing the feet of the officers and soldiers, and conjuring 
them to lead them on to fight against the Russians. It 
was in vain that they were remonstrated with, and 
told to recollect that they were, as yet, but children ; 
that a time would come when they might prove them- 
selves of real service to their country ; whilst, by in- 
sisting upon following the insurgent troops, they would 
only incur the risk of being crueUy persecuted by the 
Russians for thus openly declaring their sentiments ; 
that they had far better, therefore, return back to their 
respective schools. The boys turned a deaf ear to all the 
reasoning that could be urged against them ; they wept, 
vociferated, and were absolutely bent on following Ro- 
zycki's detachment; and, better, indeed, had it been for 
them, as the sequel proved, if they had been allowed to 
have their own way, and to follow the regiment. In 


order to appease them in some sort, they were permitted 
to tend upon the wounded ; and Rozycki, having re- 
inforced his small troop by the addition of a few good 
horsemen, and gathered all the information possible as 
to the whereabouts and movements of the enemy, left 
Miendzyrzec, and marched forward a few miles. Shortly 
afterwards, however, he received authentic warning 
from his faithful scouts, that several Russian columns, 
supported by artillery, were already waiting on his road 
to intercept his advance. He likewise received in- 
telligence that some detachments of Russian cavalry 
were following on his rear ; and that some of them had 
entered Miendzyrzec immediately on his quitting that 
town. After listening attentively to all these reports, 
and having well considered, scrutinized, and weighed 
them, he altered his plan of advance, and returned back 
by a side-road to the town. Here, upon re-entering, 
he heard cries of lamentation and hopeless distress : the 
Russians had just massacred all the schoolboys they 
could meet with in the streets ; and the bodies of the 
youthful victims were lying scattered in every direction 
bathed in blood. Fired with indignation at sight 
of this heartless butchery, he fell by surprise upon the 
Russian troops who were in the town , cut them to 
pieces, and exterminated nearly every Russian he could 
find in Miendzyrzec : then, profiting by the darkness of 
the night, and conducted by faithful guideS; he passed 
in safety the numerous columns of the enemy ; for as he 
ordered the Russian language to be spoken by his men. 


and as his detachment was in the Cossack dress, and 
was armed after the Cossack fashion, it was easily- 
mistaken for a regular body of the Russo-Cossack troops. 
By forced marches, he arrived facing the village of 
Novosilki, in the full belief that he had now surmounted 
the chief of his difficulties, but here it was, precisely, 
that the very greatest difficulties of all, and the most 
imminent danger awaited him : for the enemy, having, 
by accident, now ascertained the true object and direc- 
tion of his line of march, all the Russian columns had 
concentrated their movements on this spot, in order to 
come up with him, and effectually prevent his further 

In order that the reader may be enabled to form 
some idea of the extraordinary nature of the conflict I 
am about to describe, I consider it absolutely essential 
that he should previously be made acquainted with the 
peculiar local circumstances of the ground whereon it 
took place. 

Fronting the village of Novosilki, there is a marshy 
river, over which was a bridge in very good repair, and, 
as my readers will probably have already anticipated, in 
Rozycki's front. This bridge was guarded by a Russian 
infantry-battalion of the Duke of Wellington's regiment, 
and by some companies of sappers and miners posted at 
the entrance to the village, with several pieces of cannon : 
at some thousand paces from the village in question, 
there was a fordable passage over the river ; this spot was 
guarded by six hundred Russian Cossacks of the Don ; 


facing the village there was a raised dyke or elongated 
mound, about a thousand feet (English) in length, and of 
considerable height, abutting on the bridge. Two roads, 
from opposite directions met on the embankment. The 
right side of this embankment was unapproachable, on 
account of the marshes ; the left side was somewhat more 

Rozycki, marching on the top of the embankment, 
at once perceived that his fate, one way or the other, 
must speedily be decided : he ordered one half of his 
horsemen slowly to descend the dyke, with a few cara- 
bineers ; and made a show of seriously intending an 
attack on the Cossacks ; but, in realit}'-, he wished to 
sound their dispositions, or at all events, to keep them 
oflf as far as possible, to avoid being placed between two 
fires. The Cossacks, who have an antipathy to serious 
attacks of every kind, began to fall back in visible alarm. 
Rozycki himself, now began to descend the dyke, 
whereupon the Cossacks moved off in full retreat. 

Immediately on perceiving this manoeuvre, the com- 
mander of the Russian infantry quitted the excellent 
position he occupied behind the bridge at the entrance 
of the village, and advanced rapidly on the dyke 
towards Rozycki; treating with contempt the advice 
of a veteran soldier, who conjured him not to stir a 
step forward, to have a little patience, and that, in less 
than an hour's time, the whole of the rebel detachment, 
as he termed it, would be annihilated. The commander 
replied to him with a sharp reprimand ; telling him to 


remember " that soldiers who had the honour to bear 
the illustrious name of the Duke of Wellington, must 
not be content to lie in wait for the enemy, like mice in 
their holes, but must have courage enough to attack 
him, openly, wheresoever he may appear, as did the 
duke at Waterloo !" 

Rozycki seeing all this, and apprehensive that the 
least delay might prove fatal, suddenly reascended the 
dyke with his cavalry ; formed them into platoons for a 
charge, and posted his smaU infantry force, by way of 
guard, on the accessible side of the embankment, in 
order to protect himself from a surprise on the part of 
the Cossacks. The Russians, who were advancing in 
serried columns, now formed into squares ; here again 
a chance of the ground seemed to be greatly in favour 
of the Russian commander, as there was a small 
wooden bridge between him and Rozycki, by taking 
possession of which, or by destroying a few of its planks, 
he might greatly have embarrassed and impeded 
Rozycki's attack, and have thus materially aided his 
own defence : these precautions however he neglected. 
The insurgent Poles lowered their lances, and charged 
with impetuosity on the close ranks of the enemy : the 
Russian infantry reserved their fire, which commenced 
only when the Polish horsemen had arrived within 
ninety paces of their position. The foremost attacking 
platoons, however, were mounted on those choice 
and far-famed horses from the steppes of the Ukraine, 
the superior energy and spirit of which it would be 



difficult to describe. Three of the insurgents rode 
down a few of the foot soldiers, and leaped into the 
square. This was the signal for the general disorder 
that ensued. A Russian infantryman cried out for 
quarter ; the commander, with a blow from his sword, 
killed him on the spot, at the same time shouting — 
*' niet pardon dery sia ! (no quarter, fight away I)" But 
in another instant three Polish lances lifted him aloft 
into the air, and he fell dead to the earth. The carnage 
now commenced ; the square once broken was speedily 
cut to pieces and all but exterminated : every officer 
perished, scarcely a soldier escaped. A second Rus- 
sian detachment, who essayed to close the road to the 
Polish troops, was instantly overthrown; and Rozycki 
entered Novosilki, passing over the bridge, which he 
immediately began to demolish. Whilst his orders to 
this effect were still being executed, and the last 
remnants of the bridge were being destroyed, several 
columns of Russian infantry and cavalry, a number of 
field-pieces, and a whole army of Cossacks, were already 
mounting the embankment ; but it was too late ; Rozycki 
escaped with all his men ; had the chains and fetters 
which had been prepared for him by the Russians, in 
anticipation of his capture, broken to pieces and thrown 
into the river, and ultimately made good his junction 
with the Polish army at Zamosc. 

In the conduct of this famous skirmish, which saved 
this little Polish band of patriots from apparentl}^ 
almost certain destruction, and in which he lost but verv 



few of his men, we cannot deny to Rozycki, the merit 
of great courage and ability. The Russian commander, 
although on his part perhaps equally brave, and worthy 
both of a better cause and of a better fate, was as 
clearly deficient in military tact and keenness of obser- 
vation ; he was, indeed, the cause of his own perdition : 
a daring and chivalrous courage, untempered by pru- 
dence, would appear to be far more serviceable to 
cavalry than to infantry, whose courage, especially in 
attacks from cavalry, should be of the tranquil and 
passive order. He forgot that the Duke of Wellington, 
whose name he invoked, and who fought seventy battles 
and gained seventy victories, never once omitted to turn 
to the best account all the advantages he might find to 
be available ; that he never left anything to chance ; 
never abused his power ; and, above all, never allowed 
his passions to interfere with nor to interrupt the cool 
exercise of his reason. 

At a later period, another of Rozycki's military 
exploits was the destruction of KargopoFs Russian 
dragoon regiment, near Ilza ; and the dispersion of an 
enemy's force five times more numerous than his own, 
and provided moreover with artillery. The leading 
facts of this brilliant, indeed, almost romantic afi^air, 
may be thus briefly stated. The colonel in question, 
seeing Rozycki's small troop advancing to attack him, 
made with his hand a gesture of contempt, and accepted 
the profiered engagement before the whole of his artil- 
lery and the rest of his forces had come up. The con- 


ilict took place partly in a deep ravine. Rozycki, after 
he had beaten the dragoons, and with his own hand 
slain the Russian colonel, would not suffer the rest of 
the forces to deploy, keeping them blocked up in the 
ravine, and making repeated and incessant charges on 
the head of the enemy^s column. After a most obsti- 
nate, deadly fight, of several hours' duration, he turned 
the column by his carabineers, and forced the enemy to 
take to flight. 

Subsequently, and when Rozycki's military fame had 
begun to spread in all directions, a Russian colonel, 
who had distinguished himself in the preceding wars, 
experienced a vehement desire to measure his strength 
against him. As his forces were superior in number, 
and in the hope that he would prove victorious, his 
wish was complied with from head-quarters. At first 
they met together in a skirmish, but without any 
decided result. In the sequel, Rozycki affected to be 
afraid of him, and withdrew at his approach. Having 
by a few skilful manoeuvres succeeded in drawing his 
antagonist gradually into a disadvantageous position, 
Rozycki now in his turn became the assailant, and the 
Russian colonel was beaten, and forced to retreat with 
, the loss of nearly all his men. 

Colonel Rozycki, who is at present living in exile in 
France, maintains that without the aid of artillery, 
there is no infantry in the world capable of resisting a 
properly directed charge of cavalry, well mounted, 
composed of courageous men, and led by skilful and 


experienced officers. In this opinion, I venture to 
differ from him most completely. The very contrary I 
maintain to be the case. The English squares have 
never yet been broken. A good infantry force, in fine 
weather, ought to bid defiance to any species of cavalry 
whatever that can be brought against it. 

Beyond all doubt, nevertheless, Rozycki, who was 
by no means destitute of administrative talent, who 
united in his own person all the requisite qualities of 
a partisan chief, who was not wanting in that admix- 
ture of persuasive eloquence and tact, so essential to 
the gaining over of zealous adherents to a cause ; who 
could contrive to render himself at the same time 
beloved and feared ; and who possessed, moreover, a 
profound and practical knowledge of the means and 
resources alike of Russian-Poland and of E-ussia itself : 
Rozycki was the only man of the period capable of 
organising those insurrections which have ever proved 
the most dangerous and effective weapon in a contest 
with Russia ; and which, although entirely neglected 
in the war of 1831, will, to a certainty, be found in- 
dispensably requisite, and a most powerful adjunct, 
in any future effort which may be made by Poland for 
the recovery of her independence. 

Unfortunately, and as a link, it would appear, in 
that chain of fatalities which has ever bound the Polish 
struggle for emancipation, Rozycki made his appear- 
ance only towards the close of the war. He was wont 
repeatedly to say, "give me but 3000 men, and I 


will undertake to exterminate the corps of General 
Rudiger ! " and most assuredly he would have re- 
deemed his pledge. A great Polish noble, who is in 
the habit of listening only to the cool dictates of his 
reason, and not to the fervid suggestions of exalted 
sentimentality, and who had a thorough knowledge 
of Rozycki's capacity, used frequently to say, that 
provided only the chief military command in the 
Ukraine were given to the latter, and the civil govern- 
ment of that province to himself, the whole of the 
Russic provinces could be thrown into a state of 
revolt ; 50,000 excellent cavalry troops be raised with 
ease in six weeks ; and insurrectionary movements be 
everywhere so multiplied against Russia, that, in a 
couple of months, the Russians might be driven entirely 
from Poland ; notwithstanding all the errors, blunders, 
and oversights that had been committed at the com- 
mencement of the war of 1831. At the same time, 
he maintained that nowhere else than in Russian 
Poland did the same facilities exist for a general, and 
from thence wide-spreading insurrection in favour 
of the Polish cause. 

Rozycki has devoted himself, during his stay in 
Paris, to the assiduous study of military affairs. In 
person, he is above the usual height ; his complexion 
is dark ; and his face deeply pitted with the small- 
pox: although now passed the meridian of life, he 
being about sixty years of age, and his hair slightly 
turning grey, he is still strong and active, and in the 



enjoyment of excellent health. Those now living, 
who served under him during the war of 1831, say 
that he scarcely ever slept ; and that when on horse- 
back and giving his orders, there was so much of 
dignity in his manner and deportment, that he in- 
spired, apart from the circumstances of his position, a 
certain feeling of deferential regard in all that 
approached him. 

Rozycki says that the best officer can be sometimes 
beaten, but that it is an unpardonable blunder when 
he allows himself to be taken by surprise. 

It is to be remarked that most of the Polish nobles, 
and the Polish Ukranian Cossacks, seem to possess 
almost by natui'e a considerable talent for the cavalry 
partisan war. This talent, however, is not always ex- 
tended to the infantry. 

^BOn the subject of individual exploits, I have here 
perhaps been somewhat too diffuse; if so, my only 
exculpation is the satisfaction I experience in making 
known to the world the glorious achievements of my 
fellow-countrymen, when their authenticity, as in the 

, present case, is founded not upon the hollow preten- 
sions of would-be heroes, vaunted and bruited forth 
by subservient tools and artful intriguers, but upon 
actually accomplished facts and talents, proved and 

As I have just mentioned, indirectly, the Duke 
of Wellington's glorious name, a name which not 
only in the present age, but also in future ages, will 



always be dear to every British heart, and will not 
cease to excite the admiration of the world, it may 
not be amiss to give a sketch of a misunderstanding 
which took place between his son, the Marquis of 
Douro, and the present Russian emperor Nicholas. 

Some years ago, the Marquis of Douro visited Rus- 
sia, for the purpose of enjoying the pleasure of wild 
bear hunting. Just as he was returning from the 
Russian dominions, where he had been most hospitably 
received, having heard that there was to be a review 
of 100,000 Russian and Prussian combined troops 
at Kalisz, in Western Poland, he stopped in that town. 

The emperor of Russia and the king of Prussia 
were present at this review ; and the former, wishing 
to oblige all the foreign officers there present, in- 
vited them, collectively, to dine at the imperial table. 
Douro, in consideration of his title, his connec- 
tions, and in his quaHty of a British nobleman, re- 
commendations fully appreciated abroad, had the place 
d'honneur assigned him, and was seated at the right 
of the emperor. It was remarked, the first and second 
day, that the emperor conversed freely with all the 
foreign officers present at his table, but never addressed 
one single word to his British guest. The Marquis 
of Douro, who is un homme eoeille^ and who has the 
reputation of possessing strong perceptive powers, 
was somewhat piqued at this apparent slight on the 
part of his imperial entertainer ; and gave hints, 
indirectly, to General Count Bekendorf, the chief 



aide-de-camp of the emperor Nicholas, that it seemed 
to him as though he must, in some way or other, have 
incurred the displeasure of his imperial majesty ; but 
that he was wholly at a loss to know in what manner 
he could have deserved the emperor's anger. General 
Bekendorf immediately answered, that the emperor 
of Russia, his master, who rules over fifty millions of 
men, and who was always anxious to discharge faith- 
fully the duty imposed on him by Providence, was 
at times absent and pre-occupied in his mind, and 
might consequently appear careless about his guests ; 
though nothing in reality might be farther from his 
intention ; that his obliging disposition towards all 
foreigners, without exception, who did not meddle 
with politics in Russia, was so well known and fully 
acknowledged that it needed no comment; that he 
was sure that the next day his imperial majesty would 
redeem his unintentional neglect, and would not fail to 
open to the noble marquis the large stock of his know- 
ledge and the hidden treasures of his ever entertain- 
ing conversation: a mark of attention to which the 
marquis was fully entitled, not only by his birth, but 
by his amiabihty, numerous qualities, and unblemished 

The next day Douro was again present at the 
imperial table. The emperor never once looked 
at him ; entered into a long conversation with a person 
seated at the right of the marquis, but never ad- 
dressed one single word to the latter; it was even 


remarked, that whenever the emperor accidentally 
turned his head towards Douro, the imperial features 
momentarily assumed that icy coldness and stern for- 
biddingness of expression, peculiar to the morose cha- 
racter which is often attributed to him. 

After the dinner, Douro again mentioned to General 
Bekendorf that he was now quite sure that the emperor 
was seriously angry with him ; but that of the existence 
of any probable cause of offence on his part, or of the 
reason for his having thus incurred the displeasure 
of his imperial majesty, he, the marquis, was as com- 
pletely ignorant, as of the hour and manner of his own 

Bekendorf, visibly embarrassed, answered, that, some 
time ago, it was reported to the emperor that the noble 
marquis had been present at a baU given for the relief 
of the Polish refugees in London. That the emperor 
was so much surprised at such a report, that he would 
not at first believe that the son of the Duke of Wel- 
lington could have attended at such a ball, and that it 
must have been a mistake ; but that the news of his 
being actually present was subsequently officially con- 
firmed to his imperial majesty : he thought, therefore, 
that this circumstance might probably have displeased 
the emperor, and that this might perhaps be the real 
cause of the latter not having manifested to him those 
marks of kindness uniformly extended by the emperor 
to aU foreigners of distinction. After this explanation, 
the Marquis of Douro, to the great regret of the 


inhabitants of Kalisz, left Poland, and returned to 

Setting aside tlie paramount respect of right due to 
his illustrious birth, let it be also remembered that the 
marquis was not a Russian but a British subject ; and, 
consequently, that he was not obliged to adopt the 
political views of the Russian autocrat, or to partake of 
his imperial antipathies. 

Let it be remembered that the noble marquis was 
not at that time married to his splendid and virtuous 
spouse; and as he is a nobleman who undoubtedly 
possesses a certain amiability of character, with pleasing 
manners, and had not the reputation to be insensible to 
the fair sex, he might have appeared at the Polish ball, 
not for any political motive hostile to Russia, but for 
seeing either a lady of his acquaintance, or some of 
his brother officers ; or he might have had a whim of 
contributing to the support of those Polish exiles who, 
having fought for their country, oppressed beyond all 
power of description, claimed British hospitality, and 
were without the slightest means of existence. 

The emperor has never spoken to him since. It 
seems, however, that, on the last visit of the Emperor 
Nicholas to England, some sort of reconciliation must, 
indirectly, have taken place, as it is a well-known fact 
that, by the exertions of the Marquis of Douro, Count 
Mostowski, a Pole, received permission to return to his 
country, and was well received by the emperor, who 
at a levee shook hands with him, and bade him welcome 



back to Poland, where he remains to this time iinmo- 

As soon as it was known at Kalisz that the Marquis 
of Douro was there, some persons attempted to bribe 
the waiter to give them the opportunity of catch- 
ing a sight of the son of the conqueror of Napoleon. I 
guarantee the veracity of all the particulars of the above 
anecdote, which was communicated to me by Lord 
Dudley Stuart, and by some persons well acquainted 
with the neighbourhood of Kalisz. I venture to men- 
tion it without thespecial authorisation of the marquis 
alluded to. 

I shall probably resume the history I have already 
commenced, of the life of the Duke of Wellington, in 
the PoUsh and English languages. Being neither an 
Enghshman nor a Frenchman, and consequently, in the 
position of an impartial observer, I shall treat the subject 
without bias towards either side ; and although I may 
perhaps diflfer in some particulars from the historians of 
the latter nations, who have given biographies of the 
noble duke, I shall conscientiously endeavour to dis- 
charge the task without favour or prejudice. 

I intend to dedicate the above work to the Right 
Hon. Lord Viscount Hardinge, who contributed so 
much to the glory of the British name in India. 




Her Birth — Rank and Claim to the Russian Throne as the lawful 
Daughter of the Empress Elizabeth and Grand-daughter of Peter 
the Great— Excites the jealousy of Catherine II.— Is advised to 
leave Russia without delay — Claims the Protection of Prince 
Charles Radzivill, the richest grandee in Poland — Is carried clan- 
destinely by him to Poland, and treated with the regard due to her 
illustrious rank— Her Danger— Sets out for Italy with Prince 
Radzivill— Stops at Rome — Lives in apparent Seclusion, attended 
by Masters — Intrigues— Infamous Propositions to Radzivill for be- 
traying the Princess rejected — Tricks of the Russian Agents on 
the latter in Italy — Devastation of Radzivill's Possessions in Po- 
land by the Russian Generals— His pecuniary difficulties— Sets out 
for Poland — Leaves the Princess under the care of a Governess — 
Arrives in Poland— Is duped — Count Alexy Orloflf's Stratagem in 
Italy — His artful Snare to entrap the Princess— Carlo Ribas — 
His acquaintance with the Princess — Introduces Orloff to her — 
Mock Marriage of OrlofF with her— Orloff leaves Rome, goes to 
Pisa, and ultimately to Leghorn — Treachery of the Russian Fleet 
— The Princess falls a Victim— Her real Lover — Indignation of the 
Inhabitants— The Princess arrives in Irons at Petersburg— Is put 
into a Dungeon, and treated with harshness and dies — Remarks. 

Before we proceed to a description of one of the 
darkest and most abominable intrigues that stained 
the reign of Catherine II., it may be proper to give 
some information to the reader about the early days of 


its unfortunate victim ; and we must revert to the time 
of the Empress Elizabeth. 

Elizabeth Petrowna, empress of Russia, second 
daughter of Peter the Great, inherited from her fa- 
ther, neither his natural cruelty, his firmness, nor 
mental ability : she was more known by her personal 
attractions, by her love of good living, and fondness 
of pleasure, than by any briUiant quality suitable to her 
exalted position. 

Left a widow in the meridian of life, on the throne 
of one of the largest empires in the world, Elizabeth 
was often the dupe of the first court intriguer whom 
chance brought to her palace ; and who flattering her 
passions, and possessing a firmer mind, availed himself 
of any favourable opportunities for promoting his 
private aggrandisement ; a result not always favoui'able 
to the welfare of the country. 

Having a large field for the gratification of her 
caprices, and dreading no control, Elizabeth had many 
lovers, whom she changed according to her fancy, and 
to whom she refused nothing. She seems not to have 
been much inclined to share with any of them the 
yoke of matrimony. As she was, however, not exactly 
free from the clergy's influence, Count Alexy Grego- 
rovitch Razumoskoy, master of the buck-hounds, and 
one of her most favoured lovers, whom she had raised 
to the first dignities of the empire, taking skilful 
advantage of an expression which fell accidentally from 
her majesty's lips, prevailed on her (through the advice 


of her confessor, who was in his pay,) to marry him 
privately. She left three children by this marriage ; 
namely, two sons and a daughter, the Princess Tara- 

No sooner had Catherine ascended the Russian 
throne, after the murder of her husband, Peter III., 
than being apprised of her existence, she became evi- 
dently jealous of her ; whereupon the friends of the 
youthful princess, dreading some sinister design against 
her, advised her to leave Russia without delay. Con- 
forming to their advice, the princess sought the pro- 
tection of Prince Charles Radzivill, who, having gained 
over one of her female attendants, brought the princess 
to his estate in Lithuania, where she was treated with 
regard and kindness. 

As, however, Poland at that time was full of Russian 
troops, and was already governed as a Russian pro- 
vince, Radzivill having accidentally discovered an in- 
trigue dangerous to the safety of his illustrious prote- 
gee^ took her suddenly with him to Rome, where, in 
comparative seclusion, she received instruction suitable 
to her birth and rank. 

Perhaps the prospect of being able to put a stop 
to the domestic, foreign, and rehgious war excited 
by Catherine II. in Poland, induced Radzivill to pro- 
tect a young lady who, under proper circumstances, 
and as the grand- daughter of Peter the Great, might 
become a formidable rival to Catherine's power. Her 
very name rendered her dear to the Russians ; perhaps 


the loftier aim of mounting with her the Russian 
throne, secretly governed the conduct of the Polish 
grandee towards the fair object of his attention. 

However it may have been, the czarina, having been 
well apprised, by her spies, of what was going on at 
Rome in Radzivill's house, ordered her generals in 
Poland to pillage, destroy, and burn, under some pre- 
text or other, all the property of Radzivill; to arrest 
all his stewards, and not to allow them to send him 
any money abroad, under any circumstances. She 
even went so far as to make a liberal gratuitous offer, 
through her agents, to all the bankers at Rome, to 
induce them not to provide Prince Radzivill with any 

Radzivill, thus suddenly deprived of his immense 
revenue, was obliged to live in Italy on the produce of 
his diamonds ; and when these supplies, and the money 
borrowed by him from his friends were exhausted, he set 
out in order to gain some intelligence concerning his 
private affairs in Poland ; leaving the young lady under 
the care of a governess, to whom he gave proper in- 
structions to watch over her charge, and not to admit, 
during his absence, any stranger to the princess, with- 
out a previous knowledge of his character and princi- 
ples. Scarcely had Prince Radzivill returned to 
Poland, when the Russian ambassador stated that, if 
he would deliver the Princess Tarakanof to the empress 
of Russia, not only all his possessions should be in- 
stantly restored to him, and all his losses liberally paid. 



but that the prince would also thereby secure to 
himself for the future, her imperial majesty's favour, 
extended even to aU his relatives and friends. 

In the first burst of indignation, Radzivill intended 
to demand personal satisfaction from the Russian am- 
bassador for his insulting proposition ; but, acting on 
the advice of his friends, he answered, in writing, with 
great dignity, that whatever might happen, and how- 
ever eager he might be to secure her imperial majesty's 
favour, he would never betray the trust placed in 
his honour, and would never deliver Princess Tara- 
kanof into the hands of her enemies, as such an action 
would stain his noble name with eternal infamy, and 
would lower him in his own estimation. In this letter 
he threw all the blame on the over zeal of the Russian 
ambassador; and played so well on the generosity, 
nolle feelings, and magnanimity, of the czarina, that 
the insulting proposition was ne^er renewed to him ; 
and though he was not recompensed for his losses, his 
possessions were all restored to him, and his stewards, 
previously arrested by the Russian generals, liberated. 
The Russian ambassador added also, that if he, the 
prince, gave him his promise, as a gentleman, not to 
have any personal intercouse with the princess alluded 
to, not to encourage any ambitious dreams in her mind, 
directly or indirectly, and not to correspond with her, 
he could assure him, as a gentleman, that she should 
be left unmolested abroad. Should, however, anything 
happen to the contrary, Radzivill would thereby work 


her misfortune and ruin. Radzivill, who was naturally 
of a chivakous disposition, thinking any man of high 
station incapable of breaking his word or of affirming 
a falsehood, and dreading, not without reason, the 
dark hints of the ambassador respecting the young 
lady's fate, sent her privately some money, which, 
however, never reached her; recommended her to 
some friends, and left her exposed, unprotected, and 
helpless, to the diabolical snares skilfully prepared for 
entrapping her, just at that very time when she re- 
quired protection more than anything else. 

The czarina, having been apprized that Radzivill 
had been duped, henceforth acted with more boldness. 
At that time Prince Gregory OrlofF was her principal 
and acknowledged favourite ; and it was said that his 
own brother, Count Alexy Orloff, who had gained 
some naval victories over the Turks, and who had come 
to Petersburg, to share with other Russian generals 
the honours and substantial rewards awaiting them at 
court, aspired also secretly to supplant his brother in 
her imperial majesty's heart. Catherine had a keen 
eye ; she soon suspected his concealed aim, and listening 
to the warm protestations of gratitude of Alexy OrloiF 
to her imperial person for the favours lavished on him, 
gave him hints that they would soon be put to the test ; 
and that the sacrifice of his passion for a young and 
beautiful lady, dangerous to the well-being of the em- 
press herself, might probably be required from him, as a 
condition for the future continuance of her imperial 


majesty's kindness. In reality, however, thd czarina 
wished to turn to her own advantage the growing attach- 
ment of Orloff to her person, to prolong his stay 
abroad, and to induce him to commit a crime, the dis- 
grace of which (if committed) would fall heavier on 
him than on her. She was anxious, probably, also to be 
at liberty to gratify some new fancy, without the envious 
gaze of a too jealous and troublesome rival. Instruc- 
tions were given to Orloff respecting Princess Tai'aka- 
nof ; he promised to fulfil them, and was true to his 
word ; a part far more difficult than the promise itself. 

Orloff soon left Petersburg, and after stopping some 
days at Vienna, repaired to Leghorn, where the Russian 
squadron was already expecting him. He was also 
commissioned to find an artist to paint some pictures, 
representing the burning of the Turkish fleet by the 
Russians. Orloff soon found a painter of the name of 
Halkert, to whom he made liberal propositions to this 
effect ; but the artist told him he never saw the burning 
of a ship. Orloff immediately ordered one of his large 
ships to be blown up, for the purpose of satisfying com- 
pletely the painter's curiosity, and to enable him to 
finish his pictures with greater precision, though at 
the hazard of the ships lying in the port. 

As soon as Count Orloff had acquired from his agents 
all the necessary information about the young Russian 
lady, he sent to Rome Carlo Ribas, a convicted felon, a 
Neapolitan of foreign extraction, a young man of good 
address, whose dashing appearance, smoothness of 


tongue, and insinuating manners, coupled with a pecu- 
liar fitness for intrigue, concealed a black and treache- 
rous heart, and rendered him a worthy associate of his 
infamous projects. After discovering, as if by accident, 
the lodging of the young princess, Eibas (who had re- 
ceived every necessary instruction from Orlofi",) in- 
troduced himself to her in a splendid uniform, under 
the name of an officer. He told her that he had ven- 
tured to call on her from the sole desire of paying due 
homage to a princess, whose fate and misfortunes, ac- 
complishments and virtues, were highly interesting to 
all her countrymen. He seemed very much affected 
and distressed at the state of destitution in which he 
found a young lady of her rank. He afforded her some 
pecuniary assistance ; beseeching her on his knees to 
accept it, as he would consider her so doing as a great 
honour paid to him ; and as he was well assured that 
she would not forget him as soon as she should be re- 
stored to her country, and to the lofty station in society 
to which her rank and birth entitled her. As his man- 
ner and behaviour were extremely respectful, and at 
the same time subdued and distant, and as the tone of 
his voice was sorrowful and tender, she requested him 
to rise, accepted his money with a slight blush, evidently 
grateful and flattered at his conduct: and the wily 
traitor soon appeared to his artless and unsuspecting 
victim in the light of a messenger whom heaven had 
sent for her deliverance. 

Henceforward, Ribas was occasionally admitted to 


the society of the princess ; and when he thought he 
had sufficiently gained her confidence, he declared that 
he was commissioned from a far higher personage than 
himself, to apprise her of an intended visit connected 
with her private afiairs. And when she became eager 
to know the name and particulars of the intended 
visitor, after tantalizing for some time her curiosity, 
he apparently yielded to her entreaties, and told her 
respectfully, in a whisper, that Count Alexy OrlofF 
wished to offer to the daughter of Elizabeth, the throne 
that was lately filled by her mother. He said that the 
Russians were discontented with Catherine ; that Orloff 
especially could never forgive her ingratitude and 
tyranny ; and that if the young princess would accept 
the proposals and services of that general, and reward 
them with the grant of her hand, an outbreak would 
soon take place, which was already ripe for action and 

Such extraordinary and brilliant proposals ought na- 
turally to have opened the eyes of the Princess Taraka- 
nof, and to have raised her suspicions ; but her amiable 
and confiding soul, her inexperience of the world, com- 
pletely deceived her. Besides, the language of the 
emissary of Alexy Orloff was in harmony with some 
hints which she often heard about herself at Prince Rad- 
ziviU's house. She imagined herself destined to the 
throne ; and all the airy and poetical dreams floating in 
her head on that subject, could not but encourage the 
deceit. With a thankful heart she unhappily promised 


to receive the proposed visitor, and thus herself con- 
curred in the work of her destruction. 

Count Alexy Orloff shortly afterwards came to Rome, 
having been announced already by his agent; and 
hastened to pay his respects to the young Russian lady. 
He was received as a particular friend, as a benefactor. 
However, some persons to whom the princess and her 
governess communicated the good fortune that awaited 
them, advised them to be on their guard against the 
evident treachery of a man whose character for wicked- 
ness was well known ; and who, without doubt, had too 
much reason to remain faithful to his present sovereign 
to think of conspiring against her. 

Instead of paying due attention to such useful and 
timely advice, the princess was so imprudently frank as 
to repeat immediately, word for word, to OrloiF all she 
had heard. The latter, as a skilful courtier, soon con- 
trived to allay her apprehensions ; and thenceforth threw 
a deeper shade of dissimulation, address, and hypocrisy 
into his honied speeches and behaviour. Not satisfied 
with flattering the ambition of the young Russian, he 
contrived, by the usual arts of dissimulation and of 
feigned attachment, to assume the semblance of a passion 
for her, and succeeded so far as to inspire her with a 
true one. As soon as he was sure of it, he conjured her 
in the most urgent terms to marry him without delay ; 
she unhappily consented, and even with joy, thinking 
that the title of spouse to Count Alexy Orloff would 
shelter her powerfully from the imminent dangers and 


treacherous machinations which she was taught to ap- 

Feigning a desii'e that the marriage ceremony should 
be performed according to the rites of the Greek 
church, Orloff suborned some low villains to disguise 
themselves as lawyers and priests, and the mock 
marriage shortly afterwards took place. Thus profa- 
nation was combined with imposture, in the conspi- 
racy plotted against the unprotected and too confident 

When Alexy OrlofF had become the husband of the 
unhappy princess, he represented to her that their stay 
in Rome exposed her to too close observation ; and that 
it would be better for her to proceed to some other city 
of Italy, to wait for the breaking out of the plot that was 
to call her to the tlirone. Believing this advice to be 
dictated by love and prudence, she answered that " she 
had married him, not out of ambition, but for affection ; 
and that as became her duty towards him as an obedient 
and devoted wife, she would willingly follow him where- 
ever he chose to conduct her, even to the end of 
the world." He brought her immediately to Pisa, 
where he had previously hired a magnificent palace. 
There he continued to treat her with unshaken marks 
of tenderness and respect ; but he permitted none to 
come near her, excepting persons completely devoted 
to him ; and when she went to the theatre, or to the 
public promenades, he himself always attended her. 
The division of the Russian squadron, under the 


orders of Admiral Grieg, had just entered the port of 
Leghorn. Having been apprised of this, OrlofF told 
the princess that his presence was necessary at Leghorn, 
for the purpose of giving some orders; and he re- 
quested the latter to attend him there. To this she 
immediately consented, having previously heard of the 
magnificence of the Russian ships, and the beauty of the 
port of Leghorn. Imprudent creature, the nearer she 
approached the catastrophe of the plot, the more she 
trusted to her faithless betrayer. 

The princess departed from Pisa with her customary 
suite of attendants, and was greeted by the whole 
population, her aifability and obliging manners having 
rendered her a general favourite. On arriving at 
Leghorn, she landed at the house of the British consul, 
where suitable apartments had been already prepared for 
her, and where she was received with all the marks of 
the profoundest respect. The next day she was visited 
by all the ladies of rank, and was soon surrounded by 
a numerous court. Every one was preparing some 
new entertainment for her. Whenever she went out, 
the people lined the way as she passed along; and 
being pleased with her beauty, and having heard of her 
liberality and kindness, cheered her with repeated 
huzzas, with that southern enthusiam so difficult to 
describe, and which is seldom known in the northern 
countries. They called her, La hella e huena prin- 
cessa — " The good and beautiful princess." All circum- 
stances conspired to lull her into a fatal security. All 



tended to dispel the idea of any immediate danger at 
the very time when her days were already numbered. 

The young Russian princess was so far from 
apprehending any danger threatening her, that after 
having passed several days in a round of amusements 
with which she was pleased and delighted, she made 
of her own accord the proposition to visit the Russian 
fleet. The idea was applauded, the necessary orders 
were immediately given, and the next afternoon every- 
thing was ready at the water-side, for her reception. 

On her arrival at the port, the princess was handed 
into a boat with splendid awnings. Many ladies, with 
the British consul, seated themselves with her. A 
second boat conveyed Count Alexy Orloff and the 
admiral ; and a third, filled with Russian and British 
officers and sailors, closed the procession. The boats put 
from shore in sight of an immense multitude of people, 
and were received by the fleet with bands of music, 
salutes of artillery, and repeated huzzas. As the 
princess came alongside the ship on board of which 
she was to go, and when silence was restored, she could 
not help admiring the beautiful scenery of Leghorn, 
and the distant tops of the Appenine range drawn in 
the streams of crimson light of an Italian setting sun. 
A splendid chair was let down from the yard, in which 
being seated,* she was readily hoisted upon deck ; and 
it was observed to her that these were particular 
honours paid to her rank. 

OrlofF soon followed her, under the plea of helping 



some ladies ; but no sooner was she on board with him 
than she was handcuffed. In vain she implored the pity 
of her cruel betrayer; in vain she called him by the 
most tender names ; in vain she threw herself at his 
feet, and bathed them with her tears. No answer even 
was given to her lamentation, she was carried down into 
the hold, put in irons, and the vessel set sail for Russia. 
The confusion, the shrieks of the ladies, and of all those 
who were present, may be better imagined than described. 

On arriving at St. Petersburg, the young victim was 
shut up in a fortress, placed in a dark dungeon, and 
treated with the greatest harshness and barbarity. 
What became of her afterwards was never precisely 
kno^vn, no one ever daring to inquire about her. It is 
said that Catherine once feasted her eyes with her 
torments. The author of the interesting Memoires 
Secretes sur I'ltalie, says, that the young victim was 
drowned on the 10th of September, 1777, when the 
waves, moved by a terrible gale, rose ten feet above 
their usual level. Others assert that the unfortunate 
princess fell in prison by the hands of the executioner. 
All agree that she died in the course of that year. 

The inhabitants of Leghorn, who saw the princess 
embark, heard shortly after with inexpressible horror 
that, instead of the grand entertainment which the 
princess was to have on board the fleet, she was put in 
irons. The grand Duke of Tuscany, whose territory 
was thus so shamefully violated, wrote immediately to 
Vienna and Petersburg, to complain of the outrage ; but 


protestations without coercive measures are of little 
avail. All the British oiScers in the naval Russian ser- 
vice, indignant at the infamy perpetrated in their pre- 
sence on the Princess Tarakanof, returned to England. 

Such was the fate of the grand-daughter of Peter the 
Great, bom in wedlock : whose only crime was, that she 
raised the jealousy of Catherine II., and might have 
laid claim to the Russian throne. 

Nothing can possibly exculpate Catherine from her 
participation in this barbarous deed, however some of 
her admirers may partially justify her conduct in the 
matter : as for Alexy Orloff (in whose heart the rattle- 
snake, the foam of a mad cat, and the bile of seven 
jealous furies must have taken shelter), considering 
that Princess Tarakanof was an orphan, young, beauti- 
ful, unprotected, innocent ; that she never in any way 
offended him ; that she loved him ; that she lived with 
him for some months as his lawful wife; that she 
belonged to a family which ought to be dear to every 
Russian ; considering that she put perfect trust in him ; 
we must consider his action as an instance of the most 
abominable and blackest perfidy that ever stained the 
conscience and honour of any human being. 

See Histoire de Pierre III., et les Amours secretes de 
Catherine II.; Life of Catherine II. p. 61 ; Life of 
Catherine II., by Costera ; Memoirs of the reign of 
Catherine II. ; and Memoires secretes d'ltalie. 




Catherine's Birth, Education, and Talents— Her early Gallantries and 
Dissimulation— Arrival at the Court of the Empress Elizabeth of 
Russia — Marriage with the Grand Duke Peter, afterwards Czar of 
Russia, under the name of Peter IH. — She concocts a Plot with her 
liorers to hurl him from the Throne, and conducts it with great 
skill and boldness— Is successful— Orders the Murder of her Hus- 
band, and becomes after his Death the absolute Sovereign of Russia 
— Her numerous Lovers — Prince Potemkin — The manner of 
Choosing and Dismissing the Favourites — Lontskoi — Momonof and 
his Lady — Catherine's Cruelty and Excesses— Her Death. 

As the reign of Catherine II. empress of Russia, her 
crafty intrigues, the caprice of her numerous favourites, 
and the enormities of her generals, greatly influenced 
the ultimate fate of unhappy Poland, it may not be 
improper to give a sketch of her early days ; to furnish 
the reader with the names of her principal lovers (the 
others are too insignificant and numerous to be men- 
tioned), and to narrate some of the dark villanies related 
by her most authentic biographers. 

Sophia Augusta Frederica, who, under the name of 
Catherine II., became the absolute empress of Russia 
after the murder of Peter III. in 1762, was the lawful 
daughter of Prince Augustus Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg 


and the princess of Holstein ; and was bom May 2, 
1729, at Stettin, in Prussian Pomerania. 

Catherine's mother was a remarkably clever woman, 
and gave her an excellent education. From her early 
days the youthful Princess Sophia was not less remark- 
able for her beauty, her eloquence, and her firm and 
sagacious mind, than for her ambition, her licentious- 
ness, and the extraordinary art with which she con- 
cealed her most secret thoughts. Even at the early age 
of fourteen she conducted her love affairs with no 
ordinary dissimulation. Brought to the court of the 
Empress Elizabeth, and married to the Grand Duke 
Peter, she attracted general admiration. Feigning an 
ardent passion for her husband, who became, after the 
death of his aunt Elizabeth, czar of Russia, under the 
title of Peter III., she planned with her lover an in- 
trigue for hurling him from the throne, and taking into 
her own hands the sceptre of the Russian empire. In 
this difficult undertaking, which she conducted with 
extraordinary skill, boldness, and dissimulation, under 
the most trying circumstances, she ultimately suc- 

Without attempting to describe her life, which has 
been so well written by many distinguished authors, 
we proceed to the description of the czarina's favourites. 

It is a general remark, that when kings reign, 
women rule; and when women reign, men govern. 
Though some women may have possessed great strength 
of mind and talents; yet, on the whole, they never 


equal in any science or undertaking eminent men; 
but they always govern them by the power of their 
charms. From a remote period of Russian history, and 
especially in the last century, the monarchs of Russia 
have always had favourites oiScially ; it is no wonder 
that a custom, so ancient and scrupulously observed by 
four empresses, namely, Catherine I., Anne, Elizabeth, 
and Catherine II., should be almost considered as the 
fundamental law of the empire, and as a concomitant of 
the imperial grandeur. 

As the reign of Catherine II. was longer than that 
of any of her predecessors, and as her passions were 
warmer, it was natural that the number of her favourites 
should be greater. Sovereigns are but mortal after all, 
and are governed by the same feelings as the rest of 
mankind; consequently, they are often slaves to the 
same caprices and weaknesses, and having a larger field 
wherein to gratify their fancies and propensities, and 
being obliged often for state reasons to sacrifice their 
affection to the paltry considerations of court policy, 
they have more claim to our indulgence than those 
whose sphere of life shelters them from similar sacri- 
fices. Infamy and crime, however, must not be com- 
mitted, nor the laws of public decency violated with 

It may not be uninteresting to give some idea of the 
ceremonies connected with the installation of Cathe- 
rine's favourites. When her imperial majesty had 
fixed her choice on a new favourite, she created him 


her general aide-de-camp, in order that he might 
attend her everywhere, without creating scandal or 
attracting malicious observation. Thenceforward, the 
favourite occupied in the palace an apartment below 
that of the empress, to which it communicated by a 
private staircase. The first day of his installation, he 
received a present of £15,000, and every month he 
found £2500 on his dressing-table ; the chief steward 
of the court being commissioned to provide him with 
a daily table of twenty-five covers. The favourite at- 
tended the empress to all places of amusement ; was 
her constant companion at the opera, at balls, prome- 
nades, excursions of pleasure, and was not allowed to 
leave the palace without express permission. He was 
given to understand, that it would not be taken well 
if he conversed familiarly with other women ; and if 
he went to dine with any of his friends, the mistress 
of the house was not to be- present. 

Whenever the empress took a fancy to any one of 
her subjects, with the design of raising him to the 
post of favourite, she caused him to be invited to din- 
ner by some lady of her confidence, on whom she 
dropped in as if by chance. Then she would enter 
into familiar conversation with the new comer, with a 
view to discover whether or not he was worthy of the 
favour she intended to bestow on him. When the 
judgment she formed was favourable, the confidant, 
who was informed of it by a significant look from the 
empress, did not fail, on the departure of her imperial 


visitor, to notify to the favourite the extent of his 
happiness. The day following, he received a visit 
from one of the principal physicians of the court, who 
came to inquire into the state of his health without 
ceremony ; and the same evening he met the empress 
at the hermitage, and took possession of the apart- 
ment that had been prepared for him. 

When the power of a favourite was on the wane, 
a hint of dismissal was given to him by ordering him 
to travel; and from that time he was debarred all 
access to her majesty. All his debts, however, were 
paid, his near relatives provided for, and he received 
a boon of an hereditary estate in recompense for his 

The first of Catherine's acknowledged lovers, after 
she came to Russia, was Count Soltykof — second, 
Stanislaus Poniatowski (the late king of Poland) — 
third, Prince Gregory Orloff— fourth, Vissensky — fifth, 
Vassiltchikof — sixth. Prince Potemkin — seventh, Za- 
vadosky — eighth, Zoritch — ninth, Rymski-Korsakof — 
tenth, Lontskoi — eleventh, Yermolof— twelfth, Momo- 
nof — thirteenth, Prince Platto Zubof — fourteenth. 
Valerian Zubof. 

It is to be remarked, that among all the above men- 
tioned lovers (though to Prince Gregory Orloflf she 
was chiefly indebted for her throne), the ablest man 
was undoubtedly Potemkin, who governed the Empress 
Catherine, her lovers and the whole Russian empire, 
to the end of his days. He was of Polish origin. 


Lonskoi (Lonski) was the only one for whom she 
entertained, when already past the meridian of life, 
the most tender and devoted attachment ; which, it is 
said, was partly returned : he died in her arms, and 
left her his fortune, which she gave to his relatives. 
After his death, she was so completely absorbed in 
grief, that she wished to die of inanition, and for three 
months did not quit her apartment. During this 
time, she refused to see any one, excepting her ser- 
vants; and erected him a superb mausoleum in the 
garden opposite the windows of her bed-room ; bathing 
it for several years with her tears, and actually stating 
with sobs that she was unworthy of having such a 
lover. She often visited his grave at midnight. He 
was a native of the Polish province torn by Russia 
from Poland by the first partition ; his original name 
was Lonski, which was changed by Catherine into 

After the death of Lontskoi, and shortly before her 
own death, Catherine seems to have much liked 
Momonof ; but he fell in love with one of her maids of 
honour, Princess Schteherbatof, and had private inter- 
views with her. This was soon reported to the em- 
press ; and she once, unperceived, caught him actually 
kneeling before her. The next day she suggested 
to Momonof a marriage with the rich Countess Bruce, 
as if to know what efiect such a proposal would make 
on him. Momonof, after some hesitation, threw himself 
at the empress's feet, and openly avowed his attach- 


ment for the princess. The next day they were mar- 
ried, and set out for Moscow, with orders not to visit 
St. Petersburg. Catherine, however, never forgave 
Princess Schteherbatof for having deprived her of 
Momonof's society, and planned secretly a merciless 
vengeance. Momonof had the imprudence to relate 
some curious particulars of his love affair with the 
Empress Catherine ; and his lady, who hated Cathe- 
rine, divulged them immediately with a levity injurious 
to the sovereign, and amplifying, it is said, many 
things. Momonof and his lady had one night gone to 
rest, when the master of the police of Moscow entered 
their apartment with six men in women's attire, and a 
written order of the empress. They seized the babbling 
lady, and having stripped her entirely of her night- 
clothes, flogged her terribly with rods, in the presence 
of her husband, whom they compelled to kneel during 
the ceremony. Such a barbarous violation of domestic 
privacy could only happen in Russia, and gives some 
idea of the manner in which that country is governed. 

The choice of her imperial majesty was not always 
bestowed on educated men. Once a simple trumpeter 
attracted her attention, and speedily became a general. 
In the latter part of her life, the empress threw aside 
all restraint, and shortened her life by the most dis- 
gusting excesses. She died November 6, 1796. 

It is stated that Catherine lavished nearly fifty 
millions of pounds sterling on her love affairs, and 
demoralized for centuries the whole Russian nobility. 


Some Eussians, however, refused the place of favourite, 
in spite of all the substantial advantages derivable from 
it. Among them was Prince S. Dolgoruki. 

Such was the woman on whom sordid writers have 
lavished their flatteries ; but if there have been women 
on the throne, who have disgraced it by their vices, 
there have been, as there are still, others, who are ex- 
amples of domestic virtue, and who have been orna- 
ments to their station. 

See Life of Catherine II., 3 vols. ; Authentic Me- 
moirs of Catherine II. ; Life of Catherine II., by Costera ; 
Pierre III. et les Amours de Catherine ; Dzieta Nie- 
meevioza, &c. 




Pugatchef— His Birth and Initiation in Warfare and Robbery— Bio- 
graphies of him difficult to be procured — His Flight into Poland — 
Adopts the religious Creed of Roskolniki (Starowiertzy Puritans) 
— Joins the Cossacks of the laik — His Expedition in Kuban — Is 
arrested at Malefolka, but escapes — Rebellion among the Cossacks 
of the laik on account of the Infringement of their Privileges — 
Pugatchef joins them — Uncertain when he assumed the title of 
Peter IH. — His Invasion of the newly -established Colonies at the 
Banks of the Irghis — Besieges the Town of laitzkai, and is re- 
pulsed — Attracts to his Party the Cossacks of the Betz — Takes 
Basyrnaya, Ossernaya, and Tateschtcheva — Cuts to pieces the 
Russian Corps under Colonel Bulof— Vanquishes General Tchemi- 
shef, and slays all who refuse to join him— Besieges the Town of 
Orenburg — His Successes and Extent of his Domination — His Hy- 
pocrisy — Inscription and Motto on his Standards — His unexpected 
Successes — His Court and Ministers — His Intention of extermi- 
nating the Russian Nobility — His Proclamations and Manifesto — 
Price offered for his Head — Partial Successes of Bibikof— Unsuc- 
cessful Siege of Orenburg— Battle with the main Army of General 
Bibikof— His Retreat into the Uralian Mountains and Re-appear- 
ance with an Army — Burning of Kazan, and Rejection in the Moim- 
tains by Michelson— Re-appearance with Proclamations and Mani- 
festos—Capture of the Towns of Pensa, Saratof, and Dymitrefsk — 
His SurpriseofDuboskai'a- Ultimately vanquished and routed near 
Tchernojar — His Flight to the Deserts on the Banks of the Ouzem 
— Is Betrayed and delivered to the Russians— His Punishment and 
Execution at Moscow — Consequences of his Rebellion — Compa- 
rison with Stenko Razin — Remarks. 

After the murder of Peter III. by Catherine's fa- 
vourite, at the imperial seat Ropscha, in 176^, though 
the body of that ill-fated monarch was publicly ex- 


posed in the convent of Alexander Newski, a rumour 
was prevalent that the czar had escaped the snares of 
the assassins, and was living concealed in a distant pro- 
vince of the Russian empire, till more favourable circum- 
stances should allow him to regain his throne and 
punish the traitors. 

Several different impostors successively attempted to 
avail themselves of this popular delusion, and, by per- 
sonating the ill-fated emperor, to make good their claims 
to the Russian throne; but four of them were suppressed 
with more or less difficulty, and they expiated, by a cruel 
death on the scaffold, the crime of their mischievous 

Of these audacious pretenders, who were all more or 
less favoured indirectly by the Russian priests, the 
first was a shoemaker of Voronetz ; the second, a private 
deserter from the regiment of Orlof ; the third, Stefano 
Piccolo, an lUyrian, an Austrian deserter of good 
address, who practised surgery in Turkey ; the fourth, 
a serf of the illustrious family of Vorontzof ;* and the 
fifth, a malefactor escaped firom the prison of Irkutsk. 
One only of them, the third in rotation, Stefano Piccolo, 
more fortunate than the others, amassed some wealth and 
escaped, probably because he attempted his imposture, 
not in Russia, but in the country of the Montenegrinos, 
under the Turkish domination. 

In spite, however, of aU these repeated failures, and 
of the terrible example of retributive justice thus 
afforded, the elements of rebellion still existed; the 


discarded clergy, the Cossacks, and some disappointed 
Russian grandees, were busily engaged in preparing 
secretly a more serious and more formidable outbreak, 
and a terrible and unexpected storm was gathering. 

The man whose name made the whole of Russia trem- 
ble to her very foundation — the man whose courage, 
enterprise, ability, perseverance, as well as ferocity, 
hypocrisy, and disgusting excesses, are about to be 
narrated — deserves particular notice, though the extent 
of this work does not afford space to explain many 
interesting facts. 

Ikhmelian Pugatchef, son of a private Cossack, 
Izmailof, was bom in 17^6, at Simoveisk, on the banks 
of the Don, in the commune of the Kossack Stanitza 
Zinvilskaia, served under the command of Field- 
marshal Apraxyn, in the seven years"* war, and made the 
campaign of 1769 against the Turks. After the siege 
of Bender, where he distinguished himself by his 
gallantry, he resolved, for some reasons never yet 
clearly explained, to leave the military service; but, 
not having received on that subject a satisfactory an- 
swer, he deserted, went to Poland, and was hospitably 
received and taken care of by some clergy of the Greco- 
Russian church in Podolia. 

Concealed and sheltered in this retired spot, he 
adopted the religion of Roskolniki — the Russian puritan 
faith; an ancient community of the Greek Church, 
established by some fanatics in the twelfth century, who 
were to be the strict observants of the New Testament; 


a community persecuted by Peter the Great and his 
ancestors, and scorned by the majority of the Russian 
people, not for trifling differences in the ceremonies of 
their rites, but for a singular custom, to this time, it is 
said, prevalent among them, which decency forbids 
me to mention. The rigorous persecutions of these 
fanatics, known by their great chastity and abste- 
mious habits, produced in Russia the same effect as 
everywhere else in similar circumstances: it greatly 
increased, instead of diminishing their number, espe- 
cially in the remote parts of the Russian empire. 

Pugatchef did not fail to turn these persecutions to 
his own account. Being obliged to leave his hospitable 
friends, he went to Dobrynka, where he lived on alms : 
thence he wandered some time in Lesser Russia, pro- 
vided for and well taken care of by the numerous vota- 
ries of his adopted creed; but having received timely 
warning of the danger to which he was exposed in 
dwelling among them, he proceeded through the coun- 
try of the Don, towards the land of the Cossacks of the 
laik, where religious persecution, combined with the 
growing impatience of the Russian yoke, were preparing 
a formidable rebellion. 

As soon as Pugatchef had assembled some of his 
partisans, he hinted that he was about to undertake a 
lucrative expedition; and went towards the river Kuban 
and the passes of the Caucasian mountains, where the 
commerce carried on between the Turks, the Persians,' 
and the Russians, afforded him excellent opportunities 


of satisfying the rapacious habits and cupidity of his 
followers. It is certainly not easy to imagine the exist- 
ence of such a band of organised robbers in western 
Europe; but nothing is more common than similar 
bands in eastern Russia, which have always existed 
somewhere, and are found even at the present time. 
During his successful and murderous excursions, Pugat- 
chef frequently complained of the cruelty and oppression 
of the Russian government, and never failed to impress 
the belief on the mind of his people that the time was 
not far distant when they would see better days. 
Similar expressions and promises, always artfully in- 
troduced at proper times and under favourable circum- 
stances, and seasoned, moreover, with the powerful 
stimulant of affected secrecy, augmented daily the 
number of his adherents, and attracted, at the same 
time, the attention of the Russian authorities. Pugat- 
chef was suddenly arrested at the small town of Male- 
folka, and sent in irons to Kazan to undergo his trial. 
This unlucky accident would have cut short all his 
mighty projects, had he not so skilfully assumed the 
character of a half idiot, as to baffle the vigilance of the 
governor, whose consequent delay in inflicting the 
punishment awarded to Pugatchef, enabled the latter, 
by means of certain money furnished him by the clergy- 
men of his community, to bribe his guards and to effect 
his escape. 

Thus liberated, almost by a miracle, from his dungeon, 
he lost no time in descending the Volga and the river 


Irghis which flows in the desert; and reappearing on 
the banks of the laik under more favourable circum- 
stances, adopted fresh expedients for the furtherance of 
his projects. The Cossacks, who bear the name of that 
river, are the scattered remains of the ancient inhabit- 
ants of Kaptshak ; a curious mixture of Russians, Tatars, 
Kalmucks, and Kerghis. On the whole, they were 
more barbarous than their western brethren ; rather 
pagan than Christian, ignorant, superstitious, leading a 
wandering life, hating the culture of the soil, and sub- 
sisting chiefly on rapine, the produce of their fisheries, 
and the breeding of cattle, as well as extracting salt 
from their extensive marshes. The Russian govern- 
ment robbed them, inch by inch, not only of the vast 
tracts of fertile soil which they never touched, but also 
of the abundant pastures which fed their herds in these 
cold and dreary solitudes. Deprived of the scanty 
allowance which was due to them on the sacred faith of 
voluntary treaties with Russia ; deprived unjustly of all 
the comforts of existence ; obliged to sell almost for 
nothing their celebrated herds of beast, and denied 
redress from Petersburg, where their deputies were 
treated as rebels, they dispersed, partly in wilder tracts 
towards the Uralian mountains, and partly in other 
directions. Passionately attached to the creed of the 
Russian puritans (Roskolniki), to their barbarous cus- 
toms, to their laws, bearing a strange resemblance to 
the customs of the Zaporogues, they obstinately rejected 
all the changes and reforms intended for their civilisa- 


tion ; they were more attached to the conservation of 
their beards than of their lives. The Russians, agree- 
ably to the order transmitted to them by the czarina, 
endeavoured to transform them from regiments of 
Cossacks, into regiments of regular cavalry ; but they 
absolutely refused to allow their beards to be cut, and 
raised a rebellion. Major-General Trauenberg was sent 
against them with some regulars ; but he was beaten 
and massacred, together with their own attaman, who 
was suspected of being favourable to the Russians. 
The approach of winter, so terrible in these climates^ 
prevented a speedy quelling of their insurrection ; but 
in the following spring the Russian general Freyman, 
with a large body of troops, traversed their territory, 
routed them, and took laitzkay by storm. After 
putting to the sword their principal leaders and com- 
mitting great cruelties, he quelled their rebellion, and 
left the town to the care of a Russian colonel, who had 
under his command a large body of regulars. 

In spite of all this, many of the unfortunate Cossacks, 
and even some of their leaders, escaped into the wilds 
which surround the lakes of Kamish SamarsMe, where 
they lived on fish and some animals which frequent, 
occasionally, its bleak and inhospitable shores ; as well 
as on the scanty provisions which their families sent 
them secretly, with great difficulty and danger, till they 
found a skilful chief who terribly avenged the cruelties 
mercilessly inflicted on them. 

It is very difficult to fix on the correct time when 


Pugatchef assumed the name of Peter III. : before, 
however, he determined on the adoption of that dan- 
gerous character, he did not fail, during his stay in 
Podolia and elsewhere, to collect all the information 
possible relative to Stenko Razin, the celebrated rebel, 
and likewise respecting the peculiarities of character 
that had distinguished the ill-fated Peter. His friends 
hinted also to some of the Cossacks, that he was sent 
secretly by a few discontented Russian nobles in quest 
of the lost emperor ; others, that he wished to ascertain 
in what manner they would consider the idea of his 
assuming the character of the deceased czar. It is, 
however, a weU-known fact, that when Pugatchef 
was sent to his general with a despatch, during the 
siege of Bender in 1769, aU the officers of his staff 
were surprised at his extraordinary resemblance to 
the late emperor Peter III., in consequence of which, 
he was invited to dine at the table of General Tot- 
leben, where this resemblance was fully and unani- 
mously confirmed : it is also to be remarked that 
when Pugatchef, after deserting his ranks, was in 
Podolia, two clergymen knelt before him and ac- 
knowledged him as the Russian czar. In vain some 
authors deny this resemblance : the great majority of 
them, as well as some disinterested testimonials, and 
even the portraits of Peter III. and Pugatchef, to be 
found in the British Museum, and which we have care- 
fully examined, fully confirm it. All these things com- 
bined together made a deep impression on the mind of 



Pugatchef, and he resolved to try his fortune in that 
capacity. His resemblance, even, to the late czar was 
not absolutely necessary for seducing the credulous, 
ignorant, and persecuted people living at a great distance 
from the capital. 

After his arrival, in the month of April 1773, in the 
town of laitzkoy, Pugatchef attended a secret meeting 
of discontented Cossacks ; and being well aware of their 
excitement and thirst of revenge, he industriously 
circulated a rumour that the late czar, supposed to be 
murdered, would not fail shortly to make his appear- 
ance amongst them; and soon after, having been 
apprised of the secret abode of their chiefs who had 
escaped from the late destruction of the town by General 
Freyman, he went boldly to them, asserting that he was 
the Czar Peter III. himself ; that he had escaped from 
the daggers of his paid assassins ; and that the news of 
his death was invented by his enemies ; he therefore 
claimed their protection. 

These savage and oppressed Cossacks had never seen 
Peter III. The crafty impostor flattered their vices ; 
adopted their creed; and promised to avenge their 
wrongs. They recognised him unanimously as their 
lawful sovereign ; swore blind obedience to him, and 
promised to sacrifice their lives in his cause: and 
numerous bands of their brethren enrolled themselves 
under his orders. Placing himself at their head, 
Pugatchef immediately attacked the newly-established 
colonies on the banks of the Irghis, composed chiefly 


of the Polish political exiles, as well as of men artfully 
entrapped into those cold and dreary regions. They 
yielded to the first caU, and some of them swelled 
the rebel ranks. He took their arms, horses, and 
provisions ; did them no harm ; and mastered his 
natural cruelty for a time. 

After this easy success, Pugatchef directed his steps 
towards laitzkoy. It seems to have been imprudent 
to attack, with savage and untrained bands, expe- 
rienced and victorious soldiers, commanded by skilful 
officers, well aware of their advantages, and especially 
interested in the defence of that place. Some defi- 
ciency in the fortifications however induced Pugatchef 
to turn his eyes towards it. Arrived under its walls, 
he summoned, officially, the governor to surrender the 
town to Peter III., czar of Russia ; and, after having re- 
ceived a peremptory refusal to comply with his demand, 
he issued immediate orders to take the place by storm. 
Repulsed everywhere, he converted the siege into a 
blockade, hoping to render himself master of the town 
by famine : but he was again disappointed by the 
extraordinary perseverance of the garrison. The inha- 
bitants, reduced to the last extremity, after consuming 
the most disgusting animals, were at last relieved by 
the arrival of some Russian troops ; which obliged 
Pugatchef to retreat. 

Checked, but not dispirited, by this slight reverse, 
he marched against the Cossacks of the Iletz, the 
greater part of whom joined his standard. Soon after, 


he made liimself master of two forts, Basyrnaya and 
Ossernaya, as well as of the important town of Tates- 
chtcheva; the wooden walls of which he destroyed 
by fire. The governor of Ossernaya, Major Charlof, 
was newly married to a young and beautiful woman, 
strongly attached to her husband. Her beauty 
made an impression on the daring Cossack, who, 
excited by her refusal to satisfy voluntarily his 
passion, ordered her husband to be hanged, the 
officers to be butchered; and then, after ravishing 
the lady, delivered her over to the brutality of his 

As soon as the governor of Orenburg was apprised 
of the success of the rebellion, he despatched in great 
haste, a large body of troops, under Colonel Bulof, to 
fight the rebels. Bulof was expecting to be reinforced 
by the corps of General Tchernishef, sent from Simbirsk, 
but their movements w^ere badly managed. Pugatchef, 
possessing by nature military capacities improved by 
experience in warfare, prevented their junction, and 
marching against Bulof, cut him in pieces. He then, 
without losing an instant, attacked Tchernishef who, 
surrounded and entrapped by false rumour into a 
difficult position, surrendered and perished. Pugatchef 
in these two victorious battles ordered all who refused 
to join his ranks to be put to the sword. Being well 
aware that the most important part of a good general 
is not only to gain a victory, but to take the proper ad- 
vantage of it, he directed his steps toward Orenburg. 


That town, situated on the banks of the la'ik, on the 
verge of a bleak desert, and noted for some fine build- 
ings and extensive commerce with the most remote 
parts of Asia ; at a great distance from the centre of the 
Russian empire ; fortified also by art and nature, was an 
excellent place of defence, and well suited his purposes. 
He expected also to find money there and some parti- 
sans. He would have taken it by storm, stratagem, 
or bribery, had not the garrison of Krasno'iark cut its 
way through the rebel army. Soon afterwards the 
Baskirs and the Kirghis, the remainder of those fero- 
cious and barbarous hordes which followed the star 
of Bathu-Khan, and who were nominally subject to 
Russia, weary of the Russian yoke, and longing for pillage 
and rapine, joined the impostor's ranks. The Nogay 
Tatars, inhabiting formerly the deserts of Boodziak, not 
far from the ancient country of the Zaporogues, and 
whom Russia transplanted to the banks of the Volga, 
lost no time in following the army of one who ofiered 
them the opportunity of returning to their fatherland, 
and of taking signal revenge on the Russians. This 
example was quickly followed by the inhabitants of all 
the principal colonies in those inhospitable regions, and 
especially by the exiles condemned to work in the 
mines in the bowels of the Uralian mountains. Many 
Poles, who fought in the ranks of the Confederates of 
Bar, and who had been taken prisoners by the Rus- 
sians, sent to these wilds, deprived of their country, 
and torn from their homes and families, by the violence 


and injustice of the Empress Catherine, animated by 
the thirst of revenge against E-ussia, flocked from all 
parts of Siberia, to serve in the ranks of the rebels. 

Hitherto nothing seemed to have checked the gigantic 
projects of Pugatchef. His sway extended from the 
Uralian mountains to the banks of the Volga, about 
three thousand three hundred miles. The Russians, 
shut up in some of the towns, expected to be crushed 
and annihilated at any time, by the ever-increasing 
forces of the daring impostor. The troops sent from 
the interior of Russia, could scarcely defend the most 
important military points between Kazan and Oren- 
burg. The siege of Orenburg was followed up with 
great spirit and constancy by undisciplined bands, unac- 
quainted with the formidable means of prosecuting war 
adopted by regular armies, in spite of the gallant re- 
sistance of the Russian general, Reinsdorf, who vainly 
attempted to repulse the attack made by Pugatchef on 
the latter town. General Carr received orders to take 
the command of the Russian army, and to quell the 
rebellion of Pugatchef. He travelled by post from 
Moscow ; arrived in the neighbourhood of Orenburgh ; 
and sent a detachment of regulars against Pugatchef, 
who was besieging that town ; he was, however, not 
successful. One part of Pugatchef 's army attacked and 
so completely routed the detachment, that scarcely five 
men escaped. 

The general himself then advanced with a larger 
force ; but, contrary to the advice which he received 


fi:om some of his friends, to be extremely cautious in 
all his movements, he rashly attacked Pugatchef, fell 
into the snare laid for him, lost his forces, and, com- 
pletely beaten, seeing no chance of success with that 
celebrated rebel, he returned by post to Moscow, with 
as much haste as he came from that city. In the mean- 
time, whilst one part of the rebels were engaged near 
that town in the dead of winter, Pugatchef, always 
restless and enterprising, went to the mountains to 
take from the mines aU the silver and gold he could 
lay hands upon, and likewise the store of brass, far 
more necessary to him for casting cannon for the 
purpose of battering the walls of Orenburg. During 
this daring excursion, at the head of numerous bands, 
Pugatchef returned with rich spoil, but failed to take 
the fortress of Uffa : * soon after, a false rumour, pur- 
posely spread, of the march of a large Russian army, 
made him more cautious in his movements ; and gave 
time to some scattered regiments on the Siberian 
frontier, to prevent his taking Ecatherinendstat, 
where he would have found considerable sums of 
money. Duriag Pugatchef s absence in the Ural, 
the Polish exiles who had joined his standard, and 
whom he left behind near Orenburg, were specially 
entrusted by him with the organisation and drilling of 
his untrained troops : a task in which they succeeded 
to his entire satisfaction. At a latter period, Pugat- 
chef promised them a safe return to their country, 
gave them the command of his chosen cavalry. 


made Major Suchodolski (previously sent to Siberia by 
Catherine's order,) the chief of his staff, and ordered 
him to take particular care of his artillery. 

For a long time Pugatchef following strictly the 
rites of his adopted creed (Roskolniki Starowiertzy), 
assumed their abstinence and piety. Often he was 
seen in sacerdotal robes to bless, with humility, the fero- 
cious fanatics continually flocking to his presence. On 
his standards were written, in large letters of gold, the 
latin words, Redivivus et ultor (Re-arisen and avenged), 
a motto which, often repeated and explained, daily in- 
creased the number of his partisans. In order to stimu- 
late as far as possible the zeal of his people, Pugatchef, 
being well aware that one of their priests, Fuma, had 
been condemned to lose his right hand by fire and to 
be burned alive, in 1715, at Moscow, by the orders of 
Peter the Great, for having hewn to pieces, with an axe, 
the images of the Saints and of the Virgin, in the Russian 
church ; and having been also apprised that that religi- 
ous fanatic, when summoned before the Russian autho- 
rities and clergy for the recantation of his faith, was 
true to his creed, and possessed extraordinary firmness ; 
calmly preaching against the abuses of the Russian 
heresy, while his right hand was burned to ashes ; (for 
which he was worshipped by the Roskolniki, his image 
exhibited without a hand, and himself considered as a 
saint) ; the crafty Pugatchef not only procured the like- 
ness of the martyr without a hand as his standard, to 
which he showed publicly a religious veneration, but he 


also found an impostor without a hand of the name of 
Fuma. This fanatic, possessing great flow of language, 
assumed the character of a descendant of the celebrated 
martyr ; preached daily against the abuses of the Russian 
church and against Catherine's tyranny ; and with such 
effect, that crowds of people were always saluting him 
■Nvith repeated huzzas, crying, " Long live Fuma ! " 
"Long live our beloved emperor; our great czar; our 
benefactor, the defender of our church ;"*' with a sort 
of phrenzy. Speaking of his resurrection and ven- 
geance, the pretended Peter III., openly declared that, 
having himself no longing for power,, he had decided 
to place the Muscovite crown on the brow of the 
grand duke his son; and, after accomplishing that 
laudable action, to spend the remainder of his days 
in retirement. This pretended disinterestedness, this 
resignation and piety, this deep and well sustained 
hypocrisy, admirably served his purposes. In the 
meantime, active, enterprising, indefatigable; always 
rea^y to take every possible advantage of the weakness 
of the Russians, and of the incapacity of their generals ; 
combining with superiority of information, a perfect 
knowledge of the country and of his numerical strength, 
Pugatchef soon inspired his army with that blind con- 
fidence in his genius, which Mahomet, in bygone ages, 
infused into the hearts of his warlike and conquering 

Surprised and dazzled at his unexpected success, 
looking with pride at the niunerous tribes and immense 


barbarian army devoted to him, Pugatchef believed 
himself really the mighty sovereign whose name he 
usurped ; forgot his engagements, ceased to be a hypo- 
crite, adopted the imperial insignia, established a court, 
named his ministers, instituted orders of knighthood, and 
distributed honours and dignities among his friends. In 
the delusion of his presumption and victories, he would 
never admit any undertaking, however unreasonable, to 
be impracticable, nor the existence of any obstacle, which 
the energy of his will might not overcome; but he 
failed, by miscalculation, to pick up scattered diamonds 
at his feet, which, according to Shakspere, are at some 
one period of every man's life within his reach. He 
lost undoubtedly some precious moments for action, 
which if promptly seized would have saved him, and 
changed the destiny of the Russian empire : he neg- 
lected, too, soon the means which served him so well ; 
cast off the mask, and showed himself such as he was 
in reality. Vexed and excited by the desperate re- 
sistance of Orenburg, instead of mastering his passions, 
he abandoned himself wantonly to all sorts of disgusting 
excesses and atrocious cruelty. There was an excellent 
opportunity for the accomplishment of his projects at 
that time. In consequence of the war with Turkey, 
the celebrated field-marshal, Romantzof, could not 
weaken his army on the Danube; and Moscow was 
without troops, and full of serfs hating their masters. 
They were all prepared to join heart and hand with 
Pugatchef, who certainly had at his disposal more means 


than any other impostor in bygone ages, for founding a 
new Russian dynasty. By an unpardonable blunder, 
or an unwise policy, he openly avowed the dangerous 
intention of exterminating the Russian nobility; and 
to convince his friends that his words were in harmony 
with his actions, he peremptorily ordered to be put to 
death, with their wives and children, all the nobles 
who fought against him. Being also well aware that 
Peter III. spoke, with great fluency, the German lan- 
guage; and dreading that it should be known that 
he did not understand a word of it, he summoned 
before him all the German officers who were taken 
prisoners by his army, and, at a preconcerted sign which 
he had made to his guard, they were all put to the 
sword without mercy. 

Pugatchef committed also a great imprudence, which, 
by giving rise to scandal in his army, was stiQ more 
dangerous than the loss of a battle, in espousing publicly 
a common woman from laitskoy, though he was actually 
married to Sophia, the daughter of a Cossack, and had 
three lawful children. In the midst of the pomp and re- 
joicings on that occasion, during which he lavished his 
favours and squandered immense sums, he was apprised 
that a regular army, of 45,000 Russian veterans, well pro- 
vided, was actually marching against him, under the 
command of General Prince Bibikof, and with a formid- 
able artillery. There was also no longer any doubt 
that the Empress Catherine had pubKshed a manifesto 
against him in the principal towns of the empire. For 



a long time, this formidable rebellion was considered, 
at Petersburg, as a mere rising of a band of robbers, 
so common among the wandering tribes of disaiFected 
Cossacks and Tatars in those regions ; and Pugatchef 
as their audacious chief. Catherine's policy was inter- 
ested in considering his efforts as unworthy for an in- 
stant of any serious alarm respecting the stability of her 
throne, just at the time when all the great military 
talents of Romantzof could scarcely prosecute the 
bloody war against the Turks, who fought with un- 
disputed bravery, and displayed in it more than 
ordinary spirit. Some enemies also of the ancient and 
powerful family of Orloff, ventured more than once to 
hint that Gregory Orloff secretly fostered the rebellion, 
and had actually sheltered Pugatchef in his house. 
There was also a rumour that Baron de Tott, a skilful 
French officer in the Turkish service, and who, on more 
than one occasion, had beaten the Russians, and had 
displayed his sound policy in protecting, at the Sultan's 
court, the views of the Polish confederates of Bar, 
(whose sole aim was to fight their common enemy), had 
some communication with Pugatchef, and directed his 
mihtary movements. Catherine, who seems to have 
scorned these rumours, laughed at them openly ; and 
gave to Pugatchef the title of marquis, in derision. 
Soon, however, her sagacious mind did not fail to 
perceive the whole extent of the danger to which 
she was undoubtedly exposed; and for a long time 
she directed her whole energy and activity to the 


means of avoiding it. Her masculine mind forgot 
the weakness of the female body, and was completely- 
absorbed in this pressing and important business. 
Not satisfied with sending a powerful army, under 
General Bibikof, to crush the rebels, she in her 
manifesto, hinted, indirectly, at the well-known death 
of her murdered husband, and at the daring impo- 
sition of Pugatchef in assuming the name of Peter III. 
She also put in circulation some ukases or ordinances 
to her subjects. By one of them she warned her people 
not to obey any order which was not signed with her 
own hand, or that did not emanate from her private 
chancery at Petersburg; by another, she invited all 
the deluded Cossacks of the Don and the laik, who 
were in the rebel army, to return speedily to their 
homes; accompanying this advice with a liberal promise 
of forgetfulness of the past : by a third, far more dan- 
gerous for the personal safety of Pugatchef, and in full 
accordance with the rapacious propensities of the Cos- 
sacks, she promised a reward of one hundred thousand 
silver rubles to any one who should deliver him, dead 
or alive, to the Russian authorities ; with a free pardon 
if the individual, so delivering him up, was in the rebel 
army. Pugatchef, however, who could neither read nor 
write, having some men of ability at his court, was not 
idle on his part ; and replied by other proclamations and 
manifestos, which he always issued in the name of the 
sovereign, whose name he unblushingly usurped ; he 
ordered also small busts of himself to be cast; and 


issued gold, silver, and copper coins, stamped with 
his image, with the inscription, Peter III., Emperor 
of all the Russians. Conforming also to the advice 
of the Polish major, Suchodolski, his chief of the 
staff, who joined him from the Confederates' ranks, 
he , widely circulated, in all parts of Russia, a well- 
couched and solemn order, printed in several dialects, 
in large letters, by which he abolished servitude, 
liberated unconditionally all the peasants from the 
grasp of their oppressors, and made them proprietors 
of the soil on which they toiled and worked; 
giving proper instructions to all the governors of 
the Russian empire, for the rigorous fulfilment of 
this order, under the penalty of death. This measure 
would have completely disorganised the Russian 
empire ; would have put down the influence of the 
nobility for ever; might, if strictly executed, and oppor- 
tunely enforced, have worked a great social revolution ; 
and had not the adventurous, daring Cossack chief, 
shaken the confidence of his bands by all kinds of 
debauchery, and scorn for every kind of religious creed. 
After his arrival at Kazan, General Bibikof found all 
the citizens and nobles eager to take arms against a 
man who visibly attempted their complete annihilation ; 
and they immediately formed some regiments. The 
Empress Catherine, apprised of their conduct, and 
strongly urged by the necessity of self-preservation, as- 
sured them publicly of her gratitude, and ordered her 
imperial name to be inscribed in letters of gold among 



the nobles and citizens of the town of Kazan — a mise- 
rable farce, gratifying only to vanity. 

The merit of possessing some military talent can not 
be denied to General Bibikof. In marching from Kazan 
towards Orenburg he retook some towns, which had 
been surprised by the rebels, over, whom, with the 
aid of his lieutenants, he gained some advantages. 
Pugatchef was soon apprised of his victorious march, 
just at the time when all the horrors of famine in 
Orenburg, gave him a weU-founded hope of the speedy 
surrender of that important place. He, however, 
quickly retired from its walls, animated with a strong 
desire to retrieve his fortune on some more favourable 
occasion. The major-general. Prince GaUiczyn, who 
was ordered to follow him quickly, with a great part 
of BibikoFs army, lost no time in attacking him in 
a strong position near Tateschtcheva. The combat was 
fierce and obstinate ; and it was soon evident that 
Pugatchers army was well trained and instructed by 
many Poles who had crossed swords with the Russians, 
not only in the wilds of the Baskhirs but also else- 
where. He was, therefore, repulsed with great loss ; 
and as the Cossack chief did not think proper to 
fight a decisive battle immediately with him, he con- 
tinued his retrograde movement, with his ferocious 
bands, in great order, without molestation. 

Pugatchef retreating with extraordinary speed, chang- 
ing every day the direction of his march, well acquaiated 
with the country, and having the best possible inform a- 


tion of his adversary's movements, deceived Galliczyn ; 
and, after crossing a sandy desert, a large forest, and 
some almost impassable marshes by an unknown track, 
he in a few days concentrated all his forces, and ap- 
peared, in hostile attitude, before Bibikof's army, which 
was completely taken by surprise. The Prince accepted 
the battle : it was one of the most obstinate ever 
recorded in the annals of Northern Russia. Pugatchef 
was a skilful commander ; he employed, for the second 
time successfully, a very simple stratagem worthy 
to be mentioned, and which greatly contributed to 
gain the battle. As the battle was fought in the winter, 
so protracted in these gloomy regions ; and as the 
ground was covered with snow, Pugatchef, perceiving 
some snow-hills skirting one of his flanks, and at a 
point whereon he expected to be attacked, planted 
behind them some of his cannon, and ordered, under 
cover of his men, some trees and planks to be 
placed on the declivity of these snowy hills, direct- 
ing as much water to be thrown on them as pos- 
sible. This done, he feigned a retreat, after some 
resistance ; the Russians saw their adversary's weak 
point; a strong body of Bibikof's infantry received 
peremptory orders to storm the rebel's wing, and was 
taken in the snare : the water thrown on the trees and 
planks was frozen, which made them slippery; the 
Russians, in spite of all their efforts, were unable to 
climb them, and were suddenly exposed, at point blank 
distance, to such a deadly fire of musketry and grape- 


shot, that they were almost annihilated; and as 
Pugatchef lost not a moment in taking advantage of 
his success, General Bibikof was completely beaten, 
and could scarcely effect his retreat with the wreck 
of his forces : he died soon after. 

After the death of General Bibikof, Galliczyn took 
the command of the army ; and having concentrated 
his forces, and reinforced them by some scattered 
regiments, marched against Pugatchef, whom he closely 
chased for several days through wild and unknown 
tracts, with great spirit and perseverance, reaching 
him at last at Kargula, not far from Orenburgh, where, 
after six hours' hot fighting, he completely routed his 
bands. Pugatchef fled towards the Ural mountains 
in great haste ; and the rebellion was supposed to be 
entirely suppressed. 

Only one head however of the Cerberus was cut oiT. 
The inaccessible wilds of the Ural mountains, unknown 
to the Russian troops, swarmed with numerous hordes 
of Kalmucks, Kirghis, and wandering Cossacks, whom 
Galliczyn dispersed rather than annihilated; these wilds 
also, were not completely cleared of those peasants and 
miners, who, as we have seen, were always eager to 
breathe fresh air and avenge their wrongs. At the 
magic voice of Pugatchef, they again took the field; 
and for the second time, he appeared with an army, 
victorious in all directions. After mastering some towns 
and forts, built for the purpose of keeping in obedience 
the refugees and miners, he besieged and burned 



Troitsa. Beaten, however, near that town by General 
de Koln, he disappeared again in the mountains. 

More excited than dispirited by these reverses, he 
determined to retrieve his fortune by all possible 
means. Pugatchef descended, for the third time, from 
the summit of the Ural, and conceived the bold idea of 
conquering the ancient kingdom of Kazan; like a 
chafed lion rushing suddenly from his den, he marched 
towards Kazan on the wings of destruction ; burning, 
sacking, and killing everything which obstructed his 
terrible progress, but treating at the same time his 
friends with great kindness and liberality. After gain- 
ing several victories over the Kussians, and putting to 
the sword every one in the suburbs of Kazan, he mas- 
tered nearly the whole kingdom. Everything was com- 
pletely subdued excepting the citadel. The Archbishop 
of Kazan came submissively, with large bags of gold, to 
Pugatchef; acknowledged him publicly as his sovereign, 
and promised to crown him, and to provide him with 
immense treasures, as soon as the citadel surrendered. 
Not only the latter, but the generality of the popula- 
tion in the regions of Orenburg, Kazan, UiFa, the whole 
of Siberia, and the whole country to the river Ural, 
had declared unanimously for the daring impostor. 
Pugatchef besieged the strong citadel of Kazan; and 
having been apprised of the treasures there concealed, 
promised its plunder to his bands, and pressed the siege 
vigorously. Major General Paul Potemkin, relative to 
the celebrated favourite of the czarina, dared not openly 


to fight with Pugatchef ; he did not even try to prevent 
the burning of Kazan ; and would, in all probability, 
have been taken by him, and have perished in torments, 
had not Colonel Michelson appeared, at the critical time, 
to relieve him. 

Michelson, the active, indefatigable, worthy subaltern 
of Rumiantzov, was not wanting in this exigency; he 
gave not a moment's rest to the rebels, and was con- 
stantly at their heels. During several days they resisted 
him with great skill and ferocity ; he, however, com- 
pelled them to accept a battle, in which they were so 
far beaten and routed, that Pugatchef himself escaped 
almost by miracle. He repassed the "Wolga with 
scarcely three hundred Cossacks of the lai'k, the 
remainder of his numerous army. This time, accord- 
ing to all human probability, he was humbled to the 
dust, and the rebellion seemed crushed and annihilated. 
But while various rumours were prevalent respecting 
his death, he suddenly reappeared, like the fabled 
Antaeus, reinvigorated from his faU. He seemed only 
to have to stamp with his foot on the top of the 
Ural mountains, to wrest from them new and powerful 
legions devoted to him. His manifestos and pro- 
clamations, written in different languages, penetrated 
into the remotest parts of the empire ; other hordes of 
Baskirs, Kalmucks, Cossacks, and exiles, swarms of 
peasants armed with scythes and other agricultural 
instruments, flocked from all directions to hail their 
liberator. The mass of the people are seldom mistaken 


ill their friends. At siglit of these new bands, which 
seem to have mainly increased in proportion to his 
misfortunes, he yet cherished a hope of reaching 
Moscow, where his emissaries were secretly organizing 
a powerful rebellion. Well aware of their exertions, 
and having been taught by experience how difficult 
it was for his newly-levied troops to cope in the field 
with well-trained regulars, Pugatchef resolved to 
avoid all fortified towns and general engagements ; to 
march through the deserts, to descend the Volga, to ap- 
proach the Caucasus, and to amass, during his projected 
journey, the remainder of the new colonies, the hordes 
of discontented Tatars, the Cossacks of the Don favour- 
able to himj as well as the Cossacks of the Ukraine, and 
especially the Zaporogues, deprived of their ancient 
territory. He intended also to proclaim, for the third 
time, the freedom of the press, liberty of conscience, 
the extermination of the nobility, and the abolition of 
all social and hereditary distinctions. In spreading 
everywhere terror, devastation, and fire, he wished to 
disorganise the stability of the empire, to undermine 
the throne, and to change, reform, and remodel the 
whole of E-ussia; or to plunge her in anarchy, if he 
could not be her sole and mighty ruler. 

But the favourable tide for accomplishing so gigantic 
a project had ebbed ; the people showed some mistrust 
and disafiection; and the treaty of Koadtshak-Kain- 
ardgy which was concluded between Turkey and Russia, 
in the month of July, on the banks of the Danube, 


obliged Pugatchef to change his quarters. Dreading, 
not without strong reasons, that the army which was 
engaged against the Turks, might be sent against him, 
he came to the decision of remaining on the spot which 
he had chosen, in the very centre of his power, near 
those deserts and wilds so familiar to him ; and where he 
might yet find a refuge, in the event of any mis- 
fortune befalling him ; he resolved to annoy the Russians 
by quick marches, unexpected attacks, and guerilla 
warfare ; thereby training his bands, by well directed 
excursions, and by the exercise of unremitted and rest- 
less activity, to acquire, gradually, the nerve, expe- 
rience, and power of disciplined soldiers ; and gaining 
time and opportunity either to seduce and disorganize 
the Russian armies, or to brave them openly. 

As Pugatchef had lost, in previous battles, many able 
officers who were training his army ; as his adversaries 
were infinitely superior to the former Russian com- 
manders ; as he had some practical knowledge of naviga- 
tion and was a good sailor, he descended suddenly the 
Wolga, on a small flotilla which had been formerly con- 
structed by his orders ; and having heard that a Russian 
corps, unprepared for his visit, was encamped near the 
small town of Dubofska, under the orders of Baron 
Diez, he pounced suddenly upon him, put to the sword 
every living soul, and took by storm, Pensa and Saratof. 
The governor of the latter town escaped with scarcely 
fifteen of his men. A few days later, Pugatchef, whose 
very name spread terror in all directions, seduced the gar-. 


rison of Demitrewsk; and after putting to death without 
mercy all the Russians faithful to the czarina, he feasted 
his eyes with the agonies of its commander, who, aban- 
doned by his soldiers for his oppression and cruelty, was 
barbarously impaled alive by the order of the Cossack. 

Not far from that town, Pugatchef, having been 
apprised that a scientific man, Lowitz, a member of 
several universities and a distinguished astronomer, was 
actively engaged, by order of the Russian government, 
in taking the proper measures for the construction of a 
navigable canal between the river Wolga and the Don, 
summoned him before him; and after conversing 
with him, asked him whether he was an astrologer 
and could foretell his destiny ? On giving an evasive 
answer, the man of science was not a little amazed at 
the sight of his own letter, which the terrible Cossack 
drew from his pocket ; and in which the astronomer had 
spoken slightingly of him, and had given information to 
the Russian colonel respecting his military movements. 
Lowitz cried for mercy ; but Pugatchef, casting on him 
the look of a tiger, ordered him to be lifted up with 
long spears, that he might have the better opportunity, as 
he said, of giving more correct information respecting 
this world, and he on the way to the other, nearer the 
countless stars. Thus perished Lowitz in terrible 
agonies, in spite of all his entreaties to spare his life. 

The Empress Catherine, having now nothing to fear 
from the Turks, who were often duped by Russian 
diplomacy, in the most critical moments for the safety 


of the Russian empire, was able to concentrate all her 
power against the Cossack chief. Count Peter Panin, 
who had distinguished himself in the last Turkish war, 
received a peremptory order to march immediately 
with a large army and unlimited power against Pugat- 
chef, and to crush the rebellion by all possible means. 

Having been apprised that Colonel Michelson had 
successfully fought against Pugatchef, who had offered 
a large reward for his head. Count Panin detached from 
his army several regiments, and sent them by forced 
marches towards Kazan, for his release. He also dis- 
missed, under different pretexts, all of superior rank, 
whose jealousy or inferiority might have obstmcted his 
views and fettered the military talents and activity of 
Colonel Michelson. These two wise measures, and 
especially the latter, coupled with unexpected circum- 
stances, produced the ultimate success of General 
Panin's mission, just at the very moment when the 
crown of the czarina was already tottering. 

Pugatchef must have possessed a secret and unac- 
countable charm to make himself dreaded and che- 
rished at the same time. Even at the time when the 
victorious army pressed him with restless activity; 
when, by the loss of several engagements, his forces 
were reduced to 4,000 men ; and himself, compelled 
constantly to be changing his quarters ; his very ap- 
pearance produced wonders ; at his mere voice in the 
districts in which he had never been before, the people 
flocked to him, murdered their lords, and acknowledged 


him their sovereign and master, with a sort of devotion 
difficult to describe, and which surpasses all belief. At 
length, though vanquished, he seemed to have formed 
the most dangerous of his plans; he crossed the Wolga, 
gave the slip to his enemies, and resolved to march 
towards Moscow. Whole regions went over to him ; 
the utmost consternation prevailed in that capital, the 
great mass of Russian serfs were longing for his arrival ; 
and had he reached Moscow, nothing could have pos- 
sibly resisted him, as the fame of his genius and vic- 
tories, strongly magnified, preceded him. Some writers 
venture to say, that he had more chance of being ulti- 
mately successful in his second attempt to conquer 
Moscow, when he had matured his plans, than at first. 
In order to check his progress, and to convince the 
people of his being an impostor, his first wife, Sophia 
(the second he married at laitzkoy), was found out at 
the Don, and sent to meet him publicly, by special 
orders of Catherine II. The interview took place. 
She came on him unexpectedly, but the object of the 
stratagem failed. Pugatchef did not lose, for an instant, 
his presence of mind ; and, perceiving her, he said to his 
friends, ''Take care of that woman; I knew her hus- 
band ; he was very kind to me ; the poor creature is at 
times deranged." 

But the time had now arrived, when Pugatchef was 
rapidly approaching the end of his hitherto prosperous 

Colonel Michelson having received the necessary 


reinforcements, and gained new advantages, lost not 
a moment in marching against Pugatchef. Not satis- 
fied with forcing him to retreat with his army from 
the town of Tzaritshin, he pushed him towards 
Tschernoiar, cut oif his supplies, and following his 
advantage with great ability, surprised him at last in a 
difficult position, when his scattered forces, embarrassed 
by waggons, women, artillery, cavalry, and a multitude 
without order, were scarcely moving, in a long and deep 
ravine on the banks of the Wolga. His bands, attacked 
in all directions, were compelled to fight for their lives, 
and made the most determined resistance ; but soon 
disabled by the superiority of numbers, not less by the 
difficulties of their military position, than by the efforts 
of their adversaries, they gave way and fled in all 
directions. Some of them were cut to pieces ; others, 
who endeavoured to escape, were hurled with their 
horses and waggons from high rocks into the river, and 
were either killed or drowned; the remainder sur- 
rendered at discretion. 

After miracles of valour and supernatural efforts in 
fighting to the last, Pugatchef, covered with Russian 
blood and gore, was compelled to seek safety in flight. 
Unhurt amidst a thousand dangers which threatened 
his life ; spared by all the bullets, spears, and swords 
directed against him, he plunged into the Wolga, swam 
across the river, and fled into the desert, where he 
found himself by a singular chance on the wild banks 
of the Ouzem, in the very spot so familiar to him, 


whence lie had started eighteen months before on his 
terrible expedition. Weary, anxious, having lost his 
army, his wealth, and his most devoted subalterns; 
hunted in all directions, but not dispirited, he took 
shelter in a wild cavern, concealed by an enormous 
stone, bearing to this day his name, and attended only by a 
few friends, who soon, however, were obliged to disperse. 
Of aU his partisans torn from him by terror, fatigue, 
misery, and all-powerful hunger, there remained only 
three Cossacks, TworogofF, of Iletz ; Tschumakof, and 
Fidulef, of laik. All three gave him, repeatedly, the 
most unequivocal proofs of their devotion ; and never 
failed to risk their lives for him and his popular cause ; 
all three seem to have enjoyed, to the last, his confidence. 
At last, however, alarmed at their common danger and 
the gloomy prospects for the future, they began to 
waver ; they remarked to each other the full pardon 
and the reward which was offered by the empress to 
him who should deliver their chief to the Russians. 
After some consultation, the lower feelings of human 
nature prevailed, and they resolved to purchase their 
own safety by the sacrifice of their chief: but such was 
the magic ascendancy which Pugatchef exercised over 
every one who came in contact with him, that though 
they were, next to himself, the most daring, they all 
trembled lest he should suspect their intention. One of 
them being seated close to Pugatchef, hinted to him the 
danger to which he was exposed, and the impossibility 
of avoiding it, if he should still refuse to beg the mercy 


of the empress. At the word, mercy, Pugatchef, though 
humbled and assailed by his misfortunes, started like a 
tiger, and drew a sharp dagger to plunge it into the heart 
of his pretended friend ; when the two other Cossacks, 
who were already anxiously watching all his movements, 
jumped on him, and after a desperate struggle, disarmed, 
secured, and conducted him immediately to the camp of 
Major-General Samarof, posted at that time with his 
corps on the banks of the laik. Thence he was dragged 
in chains, to the town of laitzkoy (now Uralsk), and soon 
after, to Simbirsk. From this place, by the express 
order of General Panin, he was publicly driven through 
aU the country he had sacked, to Moscow, shut up in an 
iron cage, and attended by a detachment of soldiers. 

As soon as Pugatchef arrived at that capital, his 
trial commenced with all possible formality and display ; 
a special commission of the Senate was ordered to 
attend it and be present at all its minute investigations. 
There he avowed that he was a Cossack of the Don ; 
he named the place of his birth ; he was recognised not 
only by his relatives, but by his former companions in 
arms ; and after the strictest examination of his life, it 
was not proved either that his rebellion was instigated 
by any foreign power, or that he had made treaties with 
independent states, as mentioned in the historical 
romance bearing his name ; though all this might cer- 
tainly have happened, had the existence of the re- 
bellion been prolonged. The empress forbade the ap- 
plication to him of the torture, as at first intended ; 


either from clemency, or the fear of some sanguinary 
reaction which might have exposed the empire to dan- 
gerous disturbances. It is said that the Empress 
Catherine visited him secretly in disguise, -attended by 
her lover. 

Pugatchef voluntarily avowed, before his death, that 
his great resemblance to Peter IIL, coupled with clerical 
intrigue, was the true reason of his rebellion, in which 
he would undoubtedly have been successful, had his 
lieutenants fulfilled his orders, and had he not had Co- 
lonel Michelson for his principal adversary. The above 
named resemblance between the ill-fated Peter III. 
and Pugatchef was not such as is sometimes met 
with between twins ; but it was at all events a striking 
resemblance, although Pugatchef's countenance was 
gloomy, and his frame infinitely more vigorous. Pug- 
atchef was condemned to be quartered alive ; to have 
his hands, feet, and head cut off, and to be left on the 
scaffold, his body to be burned, and his ashes scattered 
to the wind. 

To the last moment he hoped for mercy, in considera- 
tion of the daring courage he undoubtedly possessed ; 
but when all hope of life had vanished, he completely 
lost, it is said, that spirit and ferocious energy which 
made him so celebrated : he appeared, even, so timid 
and terror-stricken in his dungeon, that it was neces- 
sary to lift him up, that he might not faint, and to 
enable him distinctly to hear every word of his sentence, 
to which he was obliged to listen. 


The vanquished rebel-chief, however, was not sub- 
jected to the whole of his cruel sentence ; in all proba- 
bility owing to a mistake, or the pity of his executioner. 
What confirms this is, that the executioner received 
the knout, had his tongue cut out, and was sent to 
Siberia for life. Pugatchef was first beheaded (21st 
of January, 1775,) and afterwards quartered, and the 
different parts of his body exhibited on the principal 
gates of the town. Some of his accomplices were also 
executed, and others were sent to Siberia. The others, 
among them Antizof, were employed in pacifying their 
countrymen. The payment for guarding the frontiers, 
suspended temporarily, in order to defray the expenses 
of the Turkish war, was resumed among the hordes oi 
the laik ; and everything, for the time, pacified. 

Such was the end of this rebellion, which, during the 
space of eighteen months, was the cause of immense 
losses, the burning of numerous and flourishing towns, 
the complete destruction of three hundred and fifty 
boroughs, the sack of extensive provinces, the massacre 
of upwards of 350,000 human beings, and the extinc- 
tion of several noble families. 

It was decided by a special order, that the town of 
laitzkoy, near which was the principal focus of the 
rebellion, should in future be called Uralskaia ; and the 
river laik, Uralsk; alluding to the large chains of 
mountains of that name, from the foot of which it flows 
to the northern shore of the Caspian sea. 

In investigating the life of Pugatchef, we cannot 


refrain from comparing him with Stenko Razin. Both 
these celebrated men were Cossacks; both raised a 
rebellion which made the whole of Russia tremble to 
her very foundation ; both rose by the same means, and 
almost in the same places ; both would have changed 
the de§tiny of the Russian empire, had they not missed 
the proper tide of action; both intended to abolish 
slavery, and exterminate the nobility; both, cloaking 
themselves under the mask of concern for the people, 
aspired to the supreme power ; both took advantage of 
religion and of the clergy for accomplishing their private 
political purposes; both were practical and excellent 
seamen, as well as good generals ; both were betrayed, 
and perished on the scaffold ; both were cruel, daring, 
and crafty ; and might have been mighty rulers in the 
north-eastern wilds ; but would have been crushed 
under the weight of the crown of the czars, after 
plunging the Russian empire in a long anarchy ; both 
punished crimes by the commission of still greater 
crimes ; so certain is it that every great injustice perpe- 
trated in a higher social position, always creates a terrible 
reaction. Had the brother of Stenko Razin, a colonel 
of the Cossacks, not been hanged by the orders of Prince 
Dolgorouki, the lives of upwards of 300,000 human 
beings would have been spared ; and fifteen thousand 
men would not have perished in torments on the scaffold : 
had not Peter III. been murdered by order of the Em- 
press Catherine, the frightful rebellion of Pugatchef 
would never have taken place, and 350,000 men would 


have been spared. They were both evidently children 
of democracy. Stenko Razin seems to have been 
craftier than Pugatchef, because the latter cast off the 
mask too soon. It is, however, difficult to say, which 
of the two was more daring and skilful. Some writers, 
and among them two Englishmen, assert that Pugatchef 
met his fate with the most undaunted resolution. Let it 
be remembered that his examination was secret ; and 
that what was allowed to transpire respecting him was 
exactly suited to Catherine's interest. I gathered many 
things from a friend of Suchodolski, who returned to 
Russian Poland, and who used to relate many inter- 
esting anecdotes of Pugatchef. Suchodolski died at an 
advanced age. Pugatchef was evidently a sort of Tam- 
erlan ; his rebellion gives an idea of the weak points of 

"We have not had, to this time, any real, well 
written history of Pugatchef. What seems extraordinary 
is, how Pugatchef, after his defeats, appeared with new 
trains of artillery. The best lieutenants of Pugatchef 
were Chita, Salavatka, Naga-Baba-Azanof, and Sucho- 
dolski. (0 

See Lesur"*s Histoire des Cosaques; William Tooke; 
Authentic Memoirs of Catherine II. ; Life of Catherine 
II., 3 vols.; Biography of Russian Generals; Les 
Amours de Catherine II. ; Voltaire ; and Cox's Travels 
in Russia. 




Derivation of the word Ukraine — Its Boundaries — Eastern and 
Western Ukraine— Its Fertility — Description of the Steppes — Their 
Loneliness and Danger— The Cimmerians and Khosars— Their 
early History — Description of Kiow — Its interesting Reminis- 
cences — Brief Account of various Towns in the Palatinate of 
KVow — Towns in the Palatinate of Czernichow— Animals— Popu- 
lation of the Ukraine — Costume — Singular Custom — Nuptial 
Ceremonies— Characteristics — Description of the Nobility — Music 
— Poetry — Legends — Superstitions — Prophecy respecting the 
Ukraine — Visions of the past. 

The country situated between the 50th and 53rd 
degrees of north latitude^ and of which the city of 
K'iow has ever been, if not the central, at all events 
the principal place of resort ; the country traversed by 
the foaming waters of the mighty Dnieper, and extend- 
ing about five hundred English miles in length, and 
nearly two hundred miles in breadth, may furnish some 
idea of the contested locality of the Ukraine, which has, 
at no time, been accurately defined. 

This vast extent of barren fields, rich pastures, and 
cultivated lands, bounded at their edges by dense forests, 
deep lakes, and sandy monticules, formed a province, be- 
longing, for the most part, to the ancient palatinates of 
K'iow, Bratslav, and Tchernikhof (comprised at the pre- 
sent day under the governments, gubernies, of Kharkov, 
and Pultava, Zytomierz, and Kiow). This ancient Polish 


province, comprehending the southern part of Volhynia, 
the eastern part of Podolia, and some bleak districts 
which extend as far as the Black Sea, was called 
Ukraina (Oukraina), from the Polish words Kraina, 
u Kraiu, a country near the edge ; Kraiac ukroic, to 
carve, to cut ; a country near the limits, or towards the 
Hmits, or near a detached portion, near a part cut off. 
Some authors suppose the Ukraine derives its name 
from the Latin, as the Romans called this province 
Acheronensis. For a long period it was a mere desert, 
the haunt of numerous herds of wild cattle, the dwell- 
ing-place from time immemorial of some nomadic tribes, 
the wreck of ancient nations, and frequented by hordes 
of adventurers, whose origin is involved in obscurity. 

The Ukraine was long the apple of discord between 
the Tatars, the Poles, and the Russians, by whom it 
was deemed a common frontier. The Greek authors 
have partially described this country : their description 
is equally appHcable, for the most part, to the main 
features of its appearance at the present time ; they 
notice its wandering hordes, its immense troops of wild 
horses, and many of its other characteristics. 

The Ukraine is divided into two parts; Eastern Uk- 
raine and Western Ukraine, stretching eastward and 
westward from the banks of the Dnieper. It is also 
divided into the Russian, and the Polish Ukraine ; the 
latter, the more extensive and populous of the two, 
contains the city of Kiow, the capital of the Ukraine ; 
and preserves, even to our own times, its primitive 



name of a province. Although both Ukraines belonged 
formerly to Poland, as they now belong to Russia, we 
shall give a special description of the western Ukraine 
only, that is, of Polish Ukraine ( Ukraina Polska.) 

On the north of the Polish Ukraine are Polessia 
(Polesie), and Yolhynia (Volyn): on the east it is 
bounded by the Dnieper, on the west by Red Russia, 
(Czervona Rusy and Podolia (Podole) ; and on the south 
by the Black Sea (Czarne Morze.) 

The political existence of the Ukraine seems to 
belong to the past ; since, in legitimate accuracy, neither 
government nor province of the Ukraine at present exists. 
There, however, is a government of Volhynia, and like- 
wise of Podolia, in Russian Poland. Nevertheless, every 
Pole who is a native of Russian Poland understands 
this designation better than any other; the more 
especially, as in every point of view, the Ukraine 
bears the peculiar and exclusively characteristic im- 
press of its origin. 

The armorial bearings of the Ukraine, as a province 
of the ancient kingdom of Poland, were an angel, with 
a sword in his right hand, and a halo over his head, a 
two-headed eagle and a crescent moon in an oval, set 
in a large cross. In this province there were three 
palatinates, ^those of K'iow, Bratslav, and Tchernigow. 
There are several bishops, both Roman catholic and 
catholic of the Greek united church, and also a metro- 
politan of the Greek faith, schismatic and not united. 

The Ukraine, as a province, enjoyed privileges from 


which others of the Russic territories were excluded. 
As the Ukraine was inhabited by the Polish Cossacks, 
it was very difficult to take an exact estimate of its ever- 
varpng population. The Ukraine formed, in almost 
every particular, an exception to the other Polish pro- 
vinces. Its rivers are the Dnieper, too well known to 
need description ; the Dziesna, the Sula, the Yorskla, 
and the Samara, which poured their tributary waters 
into the Dnieper on the east ; and the Teterof, the 
Piema, the Ros, the Tasmina, with several others, on 
the west. The climate of the Ukraine is temperate, 
being softer in the Polish than in the Russian Ukraine. 
This country is rich in various produce; its soil is 
almost eveiywhere impregnated with saltpetre; it 
abounds in timber, grain, esculent vegetables, 
odoriferous flowers, and delicious fruits; and was 
justly considered from remote ages as the garden 
and granary of the neighbouring provinces. The nu- 
merous herds, scattered over the luxuriant and spacious 
pasturages ; the fish with which the rivers teem ; the 
honey and wax of the bees, in the management of which 
the inhabitants excel ; the oil, saltpetre, leather, tobacco, 
salt (the produce of the salt lakes towards the Black 
Sea), and many other usefal articles, may justly entitle 
this country to the figurative character of " a land flow- 
ing with milk and honey." In short, if the Ukraine 
were not at times laid waste by myriads of locusts, 
(Szarancza, pronounced Charantsha), which destroy 
sometimes the most abundant crop; if the cataracts 


of the Dnieper did not form an obstacle to the naviga- 
tion of that river ; and if the energies of the popula- 
tion were not crippled by Russian domination, trade 
•with the Ukraine would be more flourishing than even 
that of the East Indies ; and, at the same time, its ter- 
ritory would be one of the most fruitful and delightful 
in all Europe. 

The traveller, journeying from the romantic scenes 
of the beautiful and mountainous Podolia, commonly 
called the garden of Poland, on reaching the Ukraine, 
is struck with amazement at beholding those vast 
uncultivated plains, known by the appellation of 
Steppes. In these Steppes, the troops of wild horses 

Wild as the wild deer and untaught, 
With spur and bridle undefiled. 

Btkon's " Mazeppa." 

dashing across the plains, are seen suddenly to halt, 
to extend their necks, and gaze with intensity, as if sur- 
prised at the sight of a living being come to disturb 
them in their solitude; one of them neighs, others 
respond, then aU retire with lightning speed. 

A thousand horse and none to ride ! 
With flowing tail and flying mane, 
Wide nostrils — never stretched by pain. 
Mouths bloodless to the bit or rein, 
And feet that iron never shod 
And flanks unscarred by spur or rod, 
A thousand horse, the wild, the free. 
Like waves that follow o'er the sea. 

Byron's "Mazeppa." 

At times also is descried, soaring in the welkin, a 


solitary eagle, or perchance a flight of large ravens. 
Sometimes hungry wolves have been known to pursue, 
with savage howling, the flying steeds yoked to the 
traveller's car. Now and then may be seen flights of 
wild ducks and geese cleaving the air ; or cranes in 
triangular bodies, with other birds, sending forth 
shrieks that re-echo in the deep silence around. Not 
a house, not a tree for miles, not a spot of elevated 
ground meets the eye, except, indeed, large barrows 
containing the bones or dust of the myriads of victims 
of war or pestilence. Ravines, called iary, of im- 
mense length, sometimes intersect the monotonous 
plains. There exists also an ancient rampart, known 
by the name of Wall-zmiiowy; this is of considerable 
length ; and there is also another commencing near Biala 
Cerkiew, which disappears towards the Dnieper, and is 
called the Rampart of Trajan, a name explained by a 
popular tradition, but rejected by historical criticism. 

The Ukraine has been, from remote antiquity, the 
theatre of sanguinary battles. It was anciently inha- 
bited by the Cimmerians, extending from the river 
Kuban to the mouth of the Dniester towards the 
Black Sea. Herodotus relates, that at the time of the 
irruption of the Scythians into the country of the 
Cimmerians, the latter were overcome by the superior 
numbers of the invaders, and their sovereigns sacrificed 
by the sword of the victors, and buried on the banks 
of the Dniester, where the vestiges of their tombs were 
still traceable. In proportion as the traveller advances 


towards the east and south of the Ukraine, similar 
tombs become more numerous ; and the Steppes as- 
sume an aspect still more monotonous and sterile. 
Occasionally the pelican of the desert is to be met with. 
At sight of a human being, this rare and unsocial bird, 
a fitting representative of the Black Sea, takes rapidly 
to its wing, uttering a wild and piercing cry. Here 
and there, too, may be seen an enormous and isolated 
oak tree, whose spreading branches and venerable head 
awaken a reminiscence of bygone ages. Were these 
time-honoured oaks gifted with the faculty of speech, 
and could they describe all the events to which they 
have been eye-witnesses, what strange things could they 
not tell us, what mysteries unveil, what mundane vani- 
ties rebuke; might they not, perchance, instruct us, how 
to interchange our ideas by some hitherto unknown 
medium of converse with our distant friends ? how to un- 
fold the secrets of our hearts, to the objects of our afiec- 
tion, by the roaring of the winds or the sacred power 
of music. Whoever has not seen the mighty Steppes 
of the Ukraine, especially in the dead of the night, 
and at the rising and setting of the sun, cannot possibly 
describe the sensation which they produce ; their vast 
expanse, their soul-chilling monotony, shake, humble, 
crush the human mind. 

The traveller in journeying over these Steppes, oc- 
casionally meets with large inns, or caravansaries, the 
true oases of this great desert. They are for the most 
part kept by Russian Puritans, or by Jews {Karaimes)^ 


whose lively gesticulations and oriental characteristics 
bespeak an Asiatic origin. In these resting places, 
particularly in such as are kept by Russian Puritans 
{Marhitani)^ there is need of precaution; personal 
security is often endangered, and frequent murders 
have been committed, few being discovered, from the 
secluded nature of the locality. The traveller, there- 
fore, in these regions, should be well provided with 
fire-arms, of which the innkeepers stand in great 
dread. Banditti sometimes lie in wait for the mer- 
chants returning from the marts at Kiow, or from the 
port of Odessa, and who are supposed to carry with 
them considerable sums of money. 

After the wars of the Scythians, the Cimmerians and 
the Khosars, supposed to be the earliest ancestors of 
the Cossacks of the Ukraine, traded with the Greeks 
of Byzantium ; the industry and activity of the latter, 
induced them to establish Greek colonies, and to build 
several cities in these provinces ; amongst others, Olbia 
and Nicosia, whose names bear testimony to their Hel- 
lenic origin. At a subsequent period, this country 
witnessed the sanguinary wars between Mithridates and 
the Romans. The Goths, in their turn, about the year 
214, and the Huns about 376, extended their incursions 
to the banks of the Dnieper. In the tenth century, 
the Moscovites (Russians), inhabitants of the shores of 
Ladoga, driven from the north to the south, poured 
down upon these fertile territories, under Rurik, who 
established his residence in the wealthy town of Kiow. 


The companions of Eurik, Oskold and Dyr, were 
raised to the dignity of governors of Kiow ; but Oleg, 
guardian of Igor, the son of Rurik, after having 
caused the above governors to be massacred, and 
having, subjugated the Viatichans and the Radi- 
mitchans, the Severians and the Drevelians, nations 
of Slavonic origin, founded the Russic power, which 
became more formidable under Igor, and arrived at a 
great point of maturity under Vladymir the Great. 

As the latter divided his conquered territories 
among his twelve sons, their dissensions gave Boles- 
laus the Great, king of Poland, an opportunity of 
avenging those tribes or nations that had been invaded 
by the Russians ; and of this opportunity he availed 
himself the more readily, as they had been allies of 
Poland. Sviatopelk, a Russic duke, and step-son of 
King Boleslaus, driven out of Kiow by Jaroslav 
his nephew, sought refuge in Poland. Jaroslav 
not contented with having dispossessed him of his 
possessions, invaded Poland. Boleslaus marched to 
oppose him ; and, after having twice defeated him, and 
re-established Sviatopelk in his ancient possessions, 
made his triumphal entry into the city of Kiow, in 
the year 1018.* He returned into his own states with 
an immense booty. Some time after this, Boleslaus 
the Bold, great grandson of Boleslaus the Great, being 
attacked by the Russic princes, defeated them, re- 
duced the Ukraine into subjection, and took the city 
of Kiow; but, indulging in the most shameful ex- 


cesses, he lost the fruits of his victories, and having 
committed great cruelties, amongst them the murder of 
the bishop Szczepanoski, he was dethroned and excom- 
municated, and died a miserable death in a foreign land. 

At the time when the Polish scimitar was menacing 
the power of the Russic dukes, a power which was 
not yet firmly established, there appeared in the 
Steppes of the Ukraine, some tribes of Polovcians 
(Polovcy), springing, like the Hungarians and Turks, 
from the race of the Huns. In 1060, these Polovcians 
made themselves masters of the town of Pereaslaw, in 
Lesser Bulgaria ; and taking advantage of the dissen- 
sions of the Russic dukes, established- themselves in the 
Ukraine. The calamities which weighed heavily upon 
these territories, were succeeded by others still more 
terrible ; when the hordes of the Tatars, at first led by 
Genkiscan, and subsequently by other chiefs, com- 
menced the struggle, which lasted five centuries, 
between barbarism and civilisation, between Europe 
and Asia — that dreadful struggle during which Poland 
alone preserved the other powers from destruction, 
otherwise inevitable, and which, at a later period, was 
the principal cause of her ruin. 

The Russic power, weakened as it was by the Polish 
and Tatar arms, still thought itself sufficiently strong to 
make an attack upon the Lithuanian possessions. The 
grand duke of Lithuania, Guedymin, already famous by 
the victories he had gained over the Teutonics, placed 
himself at the head of an army, traversed Volhynia, 


overtook twelve Kussic dukes near the river Pierna, 
gave them battle, defeated them, made himself master 
of the whole Ukraine, took possession of Kiow in 1320, 
established a governor-general in the conquered terri- 
tories, and returned into Lithuania. His son, the Grand 
Duke Olgierd, inheriting the high qualities of his father, 
attacked the Tatars in Podolia (which was still groaning 
under the yoke), near Sine Wody, totally defeated them, 
and united, in 1331, the two provinces to Lithuania, 
which formerly extended from the Baltic to the Black 

The Tatars, subdued by Olgierd, having rebelled, the 
Grand Duke Vitold, son of Keystut, and nephew of the 
above mentioned Olgierd, marched against them at the 
head of an army, attacked them several times on the bank 
of the Don, and made them feel the weight of his sword. 
Vitold, ere long, penetrated the confines of Asia ; and 
powerful princes sought his alliance and protection. 
One of the Tatar princes, Tacktamisz, being twice 
beaten, and then driven from his states by Timur* 
Kutluk, of the horde of Kapchake, one of the lieu- 
tenants of Tamerlan, solicited Vitold to protect him 
against his enemy. Vitold kindly received the illus- 
trious exile, granted him a residence in the town of 
Kiow, promised to reinstate him in his domains, and to 
punish Timur-Kutluk the usurper. Although many of 
Vitold's friends advised him to abstain from taking any 
part in the measures required to effect these objects, 
warning him of the immense numerical superiority of 


the Tatars, and reminding him of the military experience 
and valour they had derived from their wars with 
Tamerlan ; Vitold, unshaken in his decision and 
nothing daunted, assembled an army composed of 
Tatars and the Russia dukes, his tributaries, as well as 
of Lithuanians and Poles, under experienced leaders : 
ambitious of glory, panting for conquest, and hating 
repose, he led his forces against Timur-Kutluk. 

The latter, having learned that Vitold was advancing 
at the head of a hostile army, sent to him an envoy 
with a message, couched in the following words : — 

*' Valiant prince, deliver into our hands Takhtamysz, 
formerly a powerful chief, now an exile and our enemy : 
such is the will of the khan, my master." 

Vitold replied — '' I am on my way to see him !" 
then, having crossed the Sula, Khorolem, and several 
other rivers, he came in sight of the army of Timur- 
Kutluk, encamped on the opposite bank of the Vorskla. 

Well acquainted with the high renown of Vitold, as 
well as with his military talents, he did not appear dis- 
posed to combat with him. He sent a second time an 
envoy, bearer of the following question : — 

" I ask you the cause of this war. I have never 
offended you. I have never invaded your states. What 
then do you want from me ?" 

Vitold answered, '' God is preparing to give me the 
dominion over all nations ; my will is, that you be my 
son, and my tributary, or my prisoner." 

Timur-Kutluk, according to several historians, was 


not averse to peace under certain conditions ; but Vitold 
required that Timur-Kutluk should restore all the pro- 
vinces of Takhtamysz, and that money should be 
coined, bearing Vitold's image. 

The Mongolian chief requested a delay of three days 
for his final answer, ardently expecting the arrival of 
reinforcements under Ediga Holoossa, a renowned 
Tatar chief, who soon made his appearance. Having 
heard the conditions of peace, he exclaimed, that he 
would rather perish than accept them ; and he imme- 
diately demanded an interview with the grand duke of 
Lithuania, which was granted. The two chiefs met 
each other in the space between the two armies. Vitold 
was one of the greatest captains of the age, and a 
renowned conqueror. Ediga Holoossa was one of the 
ablest chiefs of Tamerlan, whose praise, admiration, 
and even jealousy, he excited. After the usual greet- 
ings, the Tatar addressed him, " Great prince, Timur- 
Kutluk, with good reason, called you father, for you are 
older than he ; but as I am more advanced in years than 
you, let my image be stamped on your coinage ; bow 
down your proud head before your master, and be my 
slave." At these words, Vitold's anger was roused to 
the highest pitch ; he retired from the Tatar's presence, 
reviewed his army, and placed it in battle array. The 
two Tatar chiefs made a final eflfort to bring about a 
reconciliation, and they would perhaps have succeeded, 
had not a Pole, named Szczukoski, who, seeing the cele- 
brated Yitold, for the first time in his life, undecided and 


wavering, thus rashly addressed him : — " Great prince, 
if the charms of a young and beautiful spouse, perchance 
attach you so strongly to the pleasures of this world, 
permit us at least to perish, or humble the pride ot 
these innumerable hordes." These words wounded the 
pride of Yitold, and he gave immediate orders for the 

Both armies amounted together to five hundred 
thousand men. The Tatars were, at first, unable to resist 
the impetuous shock of Vitold's troops, far less nume- 
rous than the Tatar host, which, in the hyberbolical 
language of some of the historians, was said to be 
" countless as the sand of the sea."*' The bravery of 
Vitold was assisted by a few cannon, employed, for the 
first time in the north of Eui'ope in this conflict. 
These, though ill-served, committed great ravages in 
the ranks of the Tatars : but they failed to produce, 
in his favour, the successful result which, at the battle 
of Cressy, the use of artillery, then of modern intro- 
duction into European warfare, assured to the English. 
Ediga thrice rallied his troops, and by a desperate ejffort, 
captured the scanty artillery. Vitold performed pro- 
digies of valour ; but, being at length overwhelmed by 
superior numbers, he was completely defeated. After 
having lost forty thousand men, and seventy-five princes, 
he was indebted for his life, to the swiftness of his 
courser. This famous battle was fought on the 12th 
August, 1399, on the banks of the Vorskla. The loss 
of the Tatars was enormous. After the victory, Ediga 


Holoossa pillaged Kiow, returning laden with booty 
and glory into his deserts; and having learned that 
Vitold was assembling a fresh army, he offered the 
latter an advantageous peace, which was accepted. 

Some historians have wrongly recorded that Vitold 
was conquered by Tamerlan, who died in 1395, four 
years before this battle took place. The mistake may 
have arisen from the confusion of the names of Timur- 
Kutluk and Timur-Lankh (Tamerlan.) It is to be re- 
marked that, although Vitold was worsted in the battle of 
Vorskla against Timur-Kutluk, yet he always preserved 
his ascendancy over the Transdnieperian Tatars, inas- 
much as he brought away several of their tributary 
khans at the battle of Grundwald.('') 

The whole of the Ukraine, as well as the country 
which extends to the Black Sea, comprehending Wal- 
lachia, remained under Lithuanian dominion till 1453, 
when Mahomet II., sultan of Turkey, after the taking 
of Constantinople, changed the political condition of the 
east. Shortly after this conquest, the Ottomans achieved 
another over the vassals of Lithuania, already united to 
Poland. A long series of unfortunate wars, comprehend- 
ing those with the Cossacks, ravaged the Ukraine and 
all the south of Poland up to the time of the treaty of 
Karlovitz, concluded in 1699. The Ottomans, then 
swearing eternal friendship to Poland, united them- 
selves to their natural ally, in order to combat the Mus- 
covite power, which was beginning to extend itself in 
every direction. The history of its wars from Peter the 


Great to Nicholas I. is too well known to require our 
notice here. With regard to the Transdnieperian 
Ukraine, it passed with the city of Kiow, by the illegal 
treaty of Andruszof, in 1688, under the dominion of the 
czars of Russia. This treaty, concluded in the reign of 
Sobieski, was a most unfortunate one for Poland, who, 
by the consequent troubles, was weakened and disorgan- 
ised ; and the same treaty subsequently brought down 
gradual calamities upon Polish Ukraine ; especially in • 
the year 1768, during the revolt of Zelezniaque and 
Gonta, which was fostered and organised by Eussia. 

After the second dismemberment of Poland, Polish 
Ukraine passed also (according to all appearances, pro- 
visionally) under Russian domination. 

Our notice of the principal towns of the Ukraine shall 
be preceded by a description of Ki'ow (which the 
Russians spell Kief), the capital of the province. The 
origin of Kiow appears to date from a time very far 
anterior to our own era ; it may be traced back, in the 
opinion of some annalists, to the period when the 
Greeks (Cheronites), who laid the first stone of tliis 
city, carried on an active commerce with Byzan- 
tium, the modern Constantinople. On the right bank 
of the Dnieper, the true patriarch of Polish rivers, 
which pours its broad floods into the Euxine, stands the 
sacred city of Kiow, crowning a rugged steep, that 
rises from the bosom of the moving sands on the river's 
brink. It is divided into two portions, the upper town, 
called Pieczarsk, and the lower, called Dolny Kiov. The 


former contains the noble cathedral of St. Sophia, con- 
secrated in 1037, a masterpiece of architecture and 
magnificence ; and in the same portion of the city, there 
are subterranean vaults or catacombs, containing the 
bones of many saints or Russian martyrs. Under the 
ruins of the ancient church of St. Basil, are alabaster 
tablets with Greek inscriptions, bearing the date 260 
of the Christian era. Ki'ow has always been the seat of 
extensive commerce, and several times has been sur- 
rounded with ramparts, the scene of many a warlike 
achievement. When, in 1018, Boleslaus the Great, 
king of Poland, entered this city in the character of a 
conqueror, it contained eight spacious squares, and 
more than four hundred churches, with their gilded 
towers, shedding floods of reflected radiance when the 
sunbeams played upon them. These churches contained 
immense riches, supposed to have been taken from 
Theodosia (Kaffa). A great part of this wealth was 
conveyed into Poland by Boleslaus ; and at a later date, 
when Mieczyslaw II. occupied the Bohemian throne, 
the Bohemians carried the same into Prague. Although 
the greatest number of these churches were dedicated 
to the worship of the Greek Church, yet there was a 
Roman Catholic cathedral ; and there were also some 
Roman Catholic churches. In the beginning of the 
tenth century, the Russian duke Gleg, first took this city 
from the Slavonians. In 988, Vladimir the Great, 
established his residence in this city; and, after having 
espoused Anne, or Anastasia, sister of Basil and Con- 


stantine, who occupied the throne of Constantinople, 
embraced Christianity, together with a great number of 
his subjects. In the same year, the patriarch of Con- 
stantinople gave to K'iow its first metropolitan bishop, 
in the person of Bishop Michael. In 1018, Boleslaus 
the Great, and in 1077, his great grandson, Boleslaus 
the Bold, entered this city as victors. In 1228, it was 
plundered by the Tatars. In 1320, the grand duke of 
Lithuania, Gedymen, took possession of it in his turn. 
In 1399 and 1414, Ediga, who conquered Vitold, 
committed in it many acts of ravage and destruction, 
from which it never recovered. In 1650, Chmielnicki 
(Khmielnitski), made himself master of it with his 
Cossacks ; but in the following year, Prince Janus Rad- 
ziwill, always successful against these Cossacks, drove 
them out of it. In 1660, it was occupied by the Mosco- 
vites, and has remained in the power of the Russians 
ever since 1686. Ki'ow possesses an academy and a 
gymnasium. For a long time the schools of the govern- 
ment of K'iow were under the direction of the university 
of Vilno ; but in recent years, they have been transferred 
to that of the university of Kharkof. A bishop of K'iow, 
J. A. Zaluski, is known in the annals of Poland, by his 
having formed a library composed of two hundred 
thousand volumes. This noble collection was ordered, 
in 1795, to be transported from "Warsaw to Petersburg. 
In the vast gardens of Pietcharsque, abounding in aU 
the most delicious fruits of the season, there are vines 
producing grapes, from which wine is sometimes made. 



In these gardens, situated in the upper town, black 
grouse are sometimes to be seen. Kiow has from a re- 
mote period been greatly celebrated for its exquisite 
confectionary, elsewhere unsurpassed. At the festival of 
St. John, towards the end of June, the highest ranks of 
society belonging to the Ukraine, and even the proprietors 
of all the Kussic lands, assemble at Kiow ; many trans- 
actions are effected, and immense sums change hands. 
The whole city is crowded with wealthy visitors ; 
estates are sold and purchased ; balls and brilliant 
parties exhilarate the young and the gay. 

In 1831, during the war with the Eussians, Kiow 
yearned to be united to Poland, its long-lost mother 
country. This happiness it was not destined to enjoy ; 
and now, sad and solitary, seated in Moscovite darkness, 
sullied by acts of infamy, it groans as an unfortunate 
heroine in chains, directing its straining gaze towards 
regions whence the adored hero, the life of its life, is 
expected to arrive, to release it from its bondage, and to 
fill with the thrillings of rapture, the heart now rent by 
despair. It is worthy of remark, that though the 
government of Kiow is composed of a population pro- 
fessing the religion of the Greek church, yet, in 1831, 
the insurrection here was much more formidable to 
Russia, than it was in any other government forming a 
part of Russian Poland. 

We will now take a view of other places formerly 
belonging to this palatinate. Loiovygrod, on the right 
bank of the Dnieper, is at the north of Kiow. Near 


this borough,- on the 31st July, 1640, Prince Janus 
Radzivill, grand hetman of Lithuania, gained a complete 
victory over 38,000 rebellious Cossacks. Vasilkof and 
Montvidovka were, in the olden time, fortresses on the 
ancient frontier of Polesia. Ovrucz, a small town on the 
Naryna, formerly, as well as at the present time, the 
chief town of the district ; it now belongs to the govern- 
ment of Volhynia. Trylisc and E-omanof, on the Ka- 
miencza, Staviski fortified against the incursions of the 
barbarians ; it has also been rendered famous by an 
act of heroic courage on the part of a Pole named 
Zglobitski. This heroic man was the first to leap upon 
the walls, and plant thereon the Polish standard; his 
hands were struck off* in succession, and he seized the 
standard with his teeth, and held it so firmly, that 
no force could wrest it from him. He died with the 
consolation of preserving the standard from the hands 
of the enemy, and beholding his countrymen victorious. 
This noble act of devotedness took place under Czar- 
niecki, in the wars against the Cossacks. 

Korsun, a borough, situated upon the Ros : it was 
founded by Stephen Batory, in 1581 ; it was here 
that Khmielnitski, with the Cossacks that revolted in 
1648, surprised and defeated the Poles under Martin 
Kalinowski and Nicholas Pototski. 

Zytomii'z, with a population of 6,000, is at present 
the chief town of the government of Volhynia, after 
having formerly stood in the same relation with regard 
to the district of the palatinate of Kiow. There is 


here a school, as also a small theatre, in which Polish 
pieces are sometimes acted. 

Bialotcerkief, a borough, of 3,000 souls, with an im- 
mense castle, belongingto the wealthy family of Branetski. 
Trehtymirow, a borough, which was formerly assigned 
by Stephen Batory as a residence for the attaman of the 

Kaniof, upon the Dnieper, an ancient starosty that 
belonged to the nephew of King Stanislaus Poniatowski, 
who had an interview, in 1787, with Catherine II. in 
this town. 

Berdyczef, with a population of 10,000, principally 
Jews. This town belonged, and probably still belongs 
to the illustrious family of the princes Kadzivill ; it is 
incorporated in the government of Yolhynia. It is re- 
markable for the horse-fairs which are held there twice 
in a year. The most considerable is that which is held 
in the month of August ; it lasts three or four weeks. It 
may be stated, without exaggeration, that there are 
often to be seen in the fair 100,000 horses of every kind, 
from aU parts of Russia, Poland, Austria, and Turkey ; 
and even at times, a few from Persia. In my boy- 
hood, I twice visited this fair ; and I remember having 
seen in it, a Persian stallion, as white as snow, with the 
exception of his mane and tail, which were as black as 
coal, exciting the admiration of ^11 beholders ; he was 
purchased at a high price. There are also many wild 
horses, which are sold at a ducat each ; sometimes six 
shillings each. 


Jahorlik, a borough, situated at the confluence of the 
Jahorlik and the Dniester. There was, here, a kind of 
obelisk, which marked the boundaries between Poland 
and Turkey, after the treaty of Karlowitz in 1699. 
With regard to the towns and boroughs situated in 
Transdnieperian Ukraine, and which belonged to the 
ancient palatinate of Kiow, before the treaty of Grzy- 
multov, by which they were ceded, in 1686, to Mus- 
covy, we will follow the Polish geographer, Swie^ki 

Hadziacz, upon the Pszczola, memorable for a treaty 
concluded here between Poland and the Cossacks, on 
the 16th of September, 1658. 

Pultawa, upon the Vorskla, at the present day the 
chief town of the government of this name, and re- 
markably associated with the defeat of Charles XII. on 
the 8th of July, 1709. 

Batourin, a town founded by Stephen Batory, king 
of Poland. In 1664, John Casimir here concentrated 
his formidable forces, ere he marched against the Cos- 
sacks, who then threw themselves into the arms of 
Moscovy. Prince Menzikoff took this town by assault, 
in the time of Peter the Great, in 1709; and after 
having destroyed the magazines of provisions which 
Mazeppa had there amassed for the use of Charles 
XII., he put all the Cossacks to the sword, as accom- 
plices of the latter, and set fire to the town. 

Jeremiof ka, formerly belonging to Prince Jeremiasz 


Pereaslaw, upon the Trubitza, a town formerly 
flourishing, which contained a college of Jesuits, founded 
by Zolkiewski, nephew of the renowned general of 
that name. The Cossacks under Khmielnitski pillaged 
it, committing every kind of excess. 

Nizyn, on the Ostrza, which formerly separated the 
palatinate of Kiow from that of Czernichow, and the 
most eastern of the possessions of ancient Poland. 

We now turn to the palatinate of Czernichow (pro- 
nounced Tchernikhof ), the territories of which were at 
first governed by the Eussic dukes descended from 
Vladimir the Great ; but the grand duke of Lithuania, 
Gedymin, having annihilated their army on the banks 
of the Pierna, incorporated in his own states, in 1320, 
the towns and fortresses of Kiow, Bialogrod, Slepowrat, 
Kaniow, Czerkassy, Bransk, Pereaslaw, and the duchy 
of Severia, even to Puty vel, with all their dependencies. 
About the year 1394, Vladislaus Jagellon, king of 
Poland, confided to his brother Korybut, the government 
of Severia and of Czernichow ; but Korybut, wishing to 
make himself independent of the grand duke of Lithua- 
nia, Vitold assembled an army, marched against him, 
gave him battle, routed him completely near Niedo- 
kodow, took possession of his states, made him pri- 
soner with all his family, and sent him under a strong 
escort to Vilno; he then established starosties in this 

Subsequently, Korybut was restored to liberty by 
the intercession of the duke of Kazan; and obtained 


the castles of Bratslaw and Vinnista, in Volhynla, with 
all their dependencies. He then founded Zbaraz and 
Visnioviatz, whence the powerful families of princes 
Zbaraski and Visniovietski derived their origin. To 
the latter of these families belonged Michael Korybut 
Wisniowiecki, (pronounced Visniovietski) elected king 
of Poland, before Sobieski. These families have been 
long extinct. Towards the close of the reign of Casimir 
the Jagellon, in 1490, the dukes who governed Severia 
repaired to Vilno, to do homage to the king of Poland ; 
but as one of the servants of the castle, in opening the 
gate, accidentally broke the finger of one of these dukes, 
this exasperated them so much that, without delay, they 
quitted Vilno, and threw themselves into the arms of 
Russia ; becoming subject to that power, till the year 
1684, when the victories of the Poles over the Czar 
Michael Federovitch, brought about the glorious peace 
of Wiazma. By the treaty then made, Smolensk, Se- 
veria, and Tchernigovia reverted to the power of the 
mother country, and were included in the palatinate of 
Czernichow, divided into three districts by the decision 
of the diet of 1635. They again, by the truce of 
Andruszow, fell, together with all the Transdnieperian 
territory, into the power of Russia. 

The principal towns and boroughs of the ancient pala- 
tinate of Czernichow are: — Czernihow, a flourishing 
town upon the Desna, at the present day chief town of 
the government of the same name in Russia. — Novo- 
grod Sieverski, formerly the residence of the dukes. 


now the chief town of the district. — Bransk, a town 
memorable for the victory of the hetman Pac over the 
Russians. The illustrious Polish family of Tryzna 
were the possessors of estates here situated. — Konotop, 
memorable also for a celebrated victory gained by the 
Poles over the Russians in 1664. — Glinsk, anciently 
the property of the family of the princes Glinski, one of 
whose members betrayed his country, and delivered up 
to the Russians, the fortress of Smolensk in 1548. This 
traitor afterwards met with condign punishment; his 
eyes were put out by the czar, and he perished in a 
dungeon. This family is extinct. — Putywell, an ancient 
fortress, adjacent to an immense forest, scarcely inferior 
in extent to that of Bialovieza. 

In concluding this short geographical view of the 
Ukraine, it may be interesting to give a description of 
its inhabitants, particularly those of Polish TJki-aine. 

The population of the Ukraine is composed of seve- 
ral races, which have more or less amalgamated with 
each other. The Scythians, or Cossacks, were the first 
to seize upon the lands and to defend them ; but their 
nomadic habits, added to a thirst of predatory excur- 
sions, did not allow them to set a just value on these 
lands, which lay, for the most part, in fallow, or 
altogether uncultivated. Poland, accordingly, established 
therein colonies of veteran soldiers, whose services 
seemed worthy of a recompense ; and whose posterity 
constitute, at the present day, the nobility of the Ukraine. 
Besides the Polish and Russian nobles that have long 


been established here amidst some Cossacks^ several fami- 
lies of the latter, tired of their unsettled and turbulent 
life, built dwellings and settled here, forming a class of 
small proprietors, much more numerous in the Ukraine 
than in any other part of the ancient kingdom of 
Poland. The grandees have at all times formed and 
still form, as it were, a separate caste. There are also 
many Jews in the various towns. The huts of the 
common people are formed of argillaceous loam, mixed 
with the hair of beasts, and covered over with glaize, 
or fine clay. These huts are cleaner and more conve- 
nient than those of the Russians; and they are ge- 
nerally surrounded with firuit trees. 

The costume of the common people in the Ukraine, 
resembles that of the Cossacks. Their hair is gathered 
up behind into a tuft ; and they wear loose trousers. 
The young women wear a corset, fitting close round 
the waist: their long flowing tresses, hanging over 
their shoulders, are tricked out with variegated ribbons; 
and there is much grace and elegance in the general 
features of their dress. 

The celebration of the nuptial rites has been, from 
time immemorial, accompanied with singular and 
peculiar usages. In other countries, probably without 
exception, the softer sex are wooed; in the Ukraine, 
on the contrary, they are the wooers. When a young 
female has conceived an attachment for a youth, she 
goes to the house of his parents, where she tells the 
young man, in the presence of his parents, that " the 


kindness she beholds depicted in his countenance, and 
the good qualities of his heart, inspire her with the 
hope that he will prove a good husband, and under 
this impression she has come to beg he will accept her 
as his wife." If this initiatory announcement meets 
with hesitation or coldness on the part of the parents 
or their son, she sometimes renews her solicitation, 
either immediately or after the lapse of a few days ; 
and then, if the young man assents to her proposal, 
the parents believe they would expose themselves to 
the wrath of heaven, should they withhold their com- 

Then follow the ceremonies of the betrothal, which 
are more boisterous, more expensive, and of longer 
duration, than elsewhere. At the time of the sacred 
ceremony, the father of the intended inflicts upon her, 
during the administration of the holy sacrament, several 
slight blows with a kind of scourge, at the same time 
saying to her, " if to-morrow you obey not your hus- 
band, it will be he that will chastise you." On the 
day after the marriage, amid the prevailing mirth and 
festivity, attestations of the chastity of the new bride 
are attached to a board aiExed to the chimney-piece ; 
and, if her purity is arraigned, there is neither dancing, 
nor music, nor rejoicing, but a mournful silence is 
observed ; and amid this gloom, several females, with 
tears streaming down their faces, and one of them 
bearing a dead crow, suddenly appear sobbing, and 
lamenting the lost innocence of the unhappy maiden ; 


and all the family prostrate themselves before the All- 
powerful, beseeching him, in his divine mercy, not to 
visit the sin of the daughter upon the whole family. 
The bride is then publicly beaten by her father or 
nearest male relative; receives a number of strokes 
corresponding to the years of her age, and must 
observe a rigid fast for a certain length of time. This 
custom is not, however, in all cases, rigidly observed. 
There was an exception to this custom, if it was proved, 
by respectable witnesses, that the girl was too basely 
treated, during the invasion of some barbarous horde ; 
a visitation at all times frequent in the Ukraine. 

The nuptial ceremonies for a widow, though they 
are remarkable and singular, do not seem worthy of 
especial notice here. A woman, guilty of infidelity 
to her husband, was formerly buried alive up to the 
neck in the ground, and condemned thus to perish by 
starvation. This law, which was in force among the 
ancient Scythians as well as in Russia, still remains 
valid in the Ukraine, although it is not strictly 

The inhabitants of the Ukraine are generally well 
formed and robust. Their address is dignified, their 
speech concise, their gestures energetic ; they have 
piercing eyes; in this respect resembling the inhabitants 
of the savannah or the desert. They are excellent 
equestrians, and faithful and devotedly attached to those 
who are kind to them ; but they are implacable in their 
hatred, which is occasionally fatal to those on whom 


it falls. Murders are sometimes committed, robbery 
very seldom. The common people speak the E-ussic 
language, which has greater affinity with the Polish 
than with the Russian ; and they profess the schismatic 
Greco-Russian religion. The nobility are principally 

The Ukraine is the nati^ve land of the princes Czet- 
wertynski, lablonowski, Lubomirski, Radziwill, Sangus- 
zko; of Counts Bobr, Borkowski, Branicki, Brzozowski, 
Chodkiewiez, Esterhazy, Dunin, Czacki, Gizycki, Gro- 
cholski, Komar, ICrasicki, Mniszech, Moniuszko, Mos- 
zynski, Morsztyn, Leduchowski, Olizar, Ostrowski Or- 
lowski, Potocki, Potulicki Rzewuski, Sobanski, Stecki, 
Sulatycki, Szalayski, Ulatowski, Wit, as well as of the 
wealthy families of Abramowicz, Balaban, Baniewski, 
Choiecki, Czarkowski, Czaykowski, Dzierzek, Goszczyn- 
ski, Grodecki, Glebocki, Haraburda, larmunda, laros- 
zynski, Turunski, Ilowicki, lelec, Iwanicki, Iwanowski, 
Karsza, Kormanski, Mankowski, Orlinski, Oskierko, 
Prazmowski, Proskura, Ruzycki, Woynarowski, Wys- 
zynski, Szaszkiewicz, Urork, Zubr; but more especially 
of the families of princes lablonowski, Lubomirski, 
Sanguszko, and counts Branicki, Potocki, and Orlowski. 
All these nobles possess immense estates in the Ukraine, 
inhabiting magnificent castles, whose gilded towers 
and grey lichen-clad walls display their gigantic pro- 
portions amid the monotony of the Steppes ; dazzling 
or surprising the traveller as they present them- 
selves to his gaze, withdrawing his thoughts from the 


present to the past, filling his mind with historical 
associations, and again leading it forward to an ideal 
contemplation of the future : of that future, which makes 
the heart beat with hope or anguish, and which, behind 
its impenetrable veil, conceals, perhaps, blood-red visions 
of slaughter, and the roseate dawn of restoration and 
glory. In these noble palace-like mansions, adorned 
with the splendour of the east and the elegance of 
Europe, ancient Polish hospitality has taken refuge ; 
that hospitality elsewhere unequalled, and which even 
the enthusiastic feelings of a true patriot could hardly 
define. The customs of the Polish nobles are too well- 
known to need description. The nobles of the Ukraine 
are stamped with a peculiar impress. They are unos- 
tentatious, though splendid; refined, though blunt; 
and to these contradictory qualities they unite bravery 
unsurpassed. In their castles, enchanted as it were, all 
that flatters the senses, aU that cultivates the mind, all 
that strengthens the body, finds a dwelling ; and amid 
all this, there is a something grand, sombre, and wild, 
which forces itself upon the imagination, and rivets 
attention. The same noble personage who charms by 
his conversation upon Rousseau, Voltaire, or Byron ; ox 
who expatiates upon liberty, will order a domestic to be 
punished with fifty blows for a trivial offence, will treat 
without much ceremony a female domestic; and will 
kill a man in a duel for any slight breach of etiquette. 
No armies of Germany or France have ever waved their 
banners in the Ukraine ; it has never been in contact 


with civilised Europe ; and, hence, it has preserved its 
primitive character. All that locate themselves in the 
Ukraine, soon become essentially Ukrainian. The Ukrai- 
nians are generous, brave, friendly, faithful, neither 
cunning nor egotistical. When a stranger visits the 
country, every politeness is shown to him : if he be a 
person of consequence, he is invited to the different 
castles on his route, separate apartments are assigned to 
him, two servants are commanded to do his bidding, a 
Cossack attends upon him, three horses are at his 
orders; a purse of gold is placed in his drawer, and his 
wardrobe receives the attention of appointed female 

The youth of the Ukraine are not softened by luxury. 
The young Ukrainian, in addition to having received 
advantages of a high intellectual education, is taught to 
handle the sabre, to fire the pistol, to hunt wolves, and 
to tame a wild horse, a feat by no means easy of accom- 
plishment. The Ukrainian ladies are taught music, paint- 
ing, dancing, and several languages. They are at once 
graceful and beautiful ; preserving their freshness to 
declining years, uniting to an eastern imagination a 
persuasive eloquence, and possessing manners amiable 
and distinguished, and are especially celebrated for the 
beauty of their eyes, for the most part dark, which attract 
and burn at the same time ; and can almost guide a mis- 
directed traveller in a gloomy night. During ten years' 
residence in England, I have met only three ladies whose 
features bear decidedly an Ukrainian impress, namely, 


Mrs. L. G. Remington, in London, whose father is a 
governor of a part of British India; Miss Fanny Brand- 
ling, at Newcastle; and the dashing and handsome 
maiden sister of the fair Mrs. Simpson, at the Grieves, 
the general favourite at Lancaster, known in the neigh- 
bourhood under the glorious denomination of a most 
excellent daughter.*' There is in the Ukraine a singular 
custom prevalent during the carnival: whole fami- 
lies visit each other, prolonging their stay for several 
weeks. As many as ten or twelve of these families, or 
more, are thus often congregated under the same roof; 
while the vacant houses are left to the care of the domes- 
tics. This usage is confined to the upper class ; and a sort 
of rotation is observed in the order of the visitors and the 
visited. Such a habit of life, although practised only 
at the season of the carnival, would be scarcely practi- 
cable in western Europe ; it tends, however, greatly to 
develope the manners, the happiness, the sociability, the 
wit, and the eloquence of the Polish nobles ; and renders 
them, without any Exaggeration, the most courteous and 
attractive in the whole world. The Polish nobles are a 
singular race of men; outrageously jealous of any en- 
croachment upon their class- privileges, they were yet 
often despotic towards those of humbler station : their 
lives were principally devoted to war, political strife^ 
personal contests, and aflfairs of gallantry : they must 
consequently have acquired great skill in the successful 
management of such matters. These family meetings 
(termed kuliki), are sometimes productive of domestic 


troubles and conjugal separations. They are more in 
vogue in the Ukraine and Polessia, than in Poland 

The animals in the tFkraine are the same as those 
found throughout Poland, with few exceptions. The 
rossomach, which is occasionally seen in the Steppes, is 
a mixture between a wild cat and a wolf J it is to be 
found also in the forest of Bialovieza, but it is extremely 
rare. The pelican, the jet-black hare, and a kind of red 
teal, much smaller than the common teal, are met with. 
There is a kind of scorpion very dangerous, and a 
peculiar viper called vrzetsionitsa {wrzecionica) , short, 
thick in the middle, small at the ends, whose bite 
is almost certain death ; it is to be found in dry situa* 
tions, and is of a slightly reddish colour ; it is by no 
means common. An ordinary viper (commonly called 
adder) can be easily distinguished from a harmless ser- 
pent (whose colours vary according to the species, the 
age, and the season) by two characteristics never to be 
mistaken, namely, by dark spots in^ig-2ag on its back, 
and its brown belly ; it is also considerably thicker and 
shorter than the common serpents, and likes more ele- 
vated ground, while the latter has always a belly of 
variegated colours, a yellow ring close to its head, and 
is to be found in more moist places : the female and 
young vipers are of a reddish colour. Sometimes a 
viper hangs on a low bush ; generally speaking, open 
copses, dry heaths, newly-covered woodlands, sandy 
wastes, and southern banks of rivers, are the haunts of 


the viper. Poisonous bites are more dangerous in 
summer than in the autumn, and can be cured by- 
rubbing the fat of the viper or olive oil on the part 
wounded, over a chafing-dish of coals, and taking the 
oil internally. It is also necessary to purge the body, 
and to apply the remedy without delay. Much depends 
on the state of the blood. A bite in a blood-vessel is 
always very dangerous : the female viper is the more 
poisonous of the two. There is a large kind of spider 
which digs a round hole in the earth, and carries 
its young on its back ; it is a sort of tarantula, and is 
dangerous. The children put some water in their 
holes, and thus oblige the spider to come out, and often 
kill it. There was, and there is still, probably, a 
wild goat, called sumah, whose horns are transparent 
and as white as snow ; they are to be found in the 
higher range of the southern Steppes. According to 
Samicki, boa constrictors were occasionally to be met 
with in the south-eastern part of the Ukraine. The 
ptarmigan is very common, and the buzzard the largest 
bird after the turkey : the latter is extremely shy, of a 
greyish colour, have long feet, and must rim at least 
thirty yards before it can rise. They are often 
caught by greyhounds. 

The music of the Ukraine is strikingly peculiar. 
Those wondrous melodies, called dumki^ are charac- 
terised by their touching harmony ; they are at once 
Ossianic, oriental, plaintive, and martial. They abound 
in the loftiest sentiments, and are interwreathed with 



eastern imagery. Now the fiercest emotion, the wild 
tornado of the soul, rushes through them; now the 
dark eyes of some love-lorn maiden are the theme of 
their enthralling strains. They always terminate with 
some sad catastrophe, and happy love finds no refuge in 
their touching stanzas. The popular ditties of the 
Ukraine form a pleasing and enrapturing minstrelsy. 
Very many of them are not set to music. In others, 
the tide of song rolls gently on. At times, the harmo- 
nious lay rises, through a climax of exaltation, from the 
softness of the breeze, to the dirge-like wailings of the 
blast, and the roar of the hurricane; and bloodshed, 
revenge, and conflagration glide through the flowing 
cadence ; the neighings of the steed, the howling of the 
wolves, the whizzing of arrows, the pattering of musketry, 
the clash of arms, the ill-boding cries of the vulture, or 
the croakings of the raven, the shouts of victory, the 
groans of the dying, despair, rage, and laughter, gush 
forth in their imitative harmony. The songs of the 
Ukraine are its history. Its wars, its triumphs, its 
defeats, its sorrows, are imaged forth and chronicled as 
it were in these sublime and spirit-stirring rhapsodies. 
One might say, as is said of Ariel's music in the im- 
mortal Shakspere, ** This is no mortal business, nor 
no sound that the earth owes." 

The fragments of the Ukrainian poetry charm and 
attract by their tenderness and pathos, by the sympa- 
thies they awaken, and by thoughts which a different 
race would in vain essay to express. Among the gems 


of this delightful art, we may notice '' Maria," by 
Malczewski ; " The Castle of Kaniov " (Zamek Kani- 
owski), by Goszczynski, written in the Polish lan- 
guage. Both have a clark^ essentially Ukrainian im- 
press; both describe love, murder, despair, and re- 
venge ; both hint at the terrible pride of the Polish 
oligarchy ; both dig a hole into the coal-pit of human 
passion ; both are founded on facts. Both these effu- 
sions of genius unfold the beauty, the richness, and 
the harmony of the Polish language. These strange 
poems seem to be twin sisters, and both unaccountably 
linked with the other world. The latter is completely 
in Byron''s fashion, and by no means inferior to any 
production of that celebrated poet. But it is local, and 
cannot be judged by any translation. . There are also 
several other Ukrainian writers, namely, Bohdan Zalew- 
ski, Michel Czaykowski (nephew of Colonel Rozycki), 
Grabowski, the two brothers Budzynski, Olizarowski, 
and Alexander Ilowicki.'^ The works of the latter are 
written in a pure and pleasing style, while some of the 
passages claim, by their ideality and wonderful power 
of description, no ordinary place in Polish literature. 
— (A. Ilowicki having felt an unfortunate passion for the 
beautiful Countess Komar, took holy orders, and is in 
great favour with the present Pope, who is certainly no 
ordinary man, and would have assured the welfare of 
Italy had his counsels been followed). — Zalewski is 
well known for his poetry in Poland. Michel Czaykowski 
and Grabowski are celebrated novelists : all their Polish 


works are exclusively devoted to the Ukraine, and, in 
point of the knowledge of the human heart and the de- 
scription of strong passion, are undoubtedly superior to 
Sir Walter Scott: but as Poland has not, at present, po- 
litical existence, their works cannot be well appreciated. 
Czaykowski took the Cossacks under his special pro- 
tection, and intends to Polonise them, a thing by no 
means impossible. I am intimately acquainted with 
him ; he is an extraordinary man, and speaks several 
languages : he is a great writer, an able politician, an 
excellent officer in the field, an accomplished gentle- 
man : he is well acquainted with the whole machinery 
of the Russian government, is now abroad, and may 
be very useful to his country under proper circum- 
stances; but having never been in England, he is 
not well aware of her gigantic powers. During five 
years I had daily intercourse with him at Paris. The 
two brothers, Budzynski have translated "Goethe" into 
Polish. Olizarowski has written some poems, and often 
writes ballads which please Prince Czartoryski. 

Malczewski is dead.^ Czaykowski, the two brothers 
Budzynski, Goszczynski, are political emigrants. There 
is also an Ukrainian lady, Miss Korzeniowska, so 
fond of science, that whenever she was invited 
to a party, she always carried with her a pencil for 
taking notes of any thing worthy to be noticed. It 
is impossible to describe the stock of information 
which this bride of science possesses, who is known in 
the literary world for her wonderful productions. She is 


a sort of Polish Miss Agnes Strickland, and her style 
resembles that of the Marchioness of Londonderry in 
her ladyship's poetical description of Moscow. 

The legends of the Ukraine, which form the nucleus 
of the dumki airs, are very numerous. These legends 
have no parallel in any other part of the civilized or 
barbarous world. Some of them evidently refer to the 
wars of Mithridates with the Eomans, others to more 
modem eras. In these legends figure enchantresses, 
prophetesses, seers, furies, good and evil genii, demons 
of every kind, females in tears, drowning women, inva- 
sions, massacres, famine, and pestilence. Some of them 
make obvious reference to the discovery of America ; 
others plunge into the Scandinavian mythology, in 
union with the vestiges of the heathenism of the 
ancient Lithuanians, mingled with the rites of the East 
and with Christianity. These legends, too, may be 
sometimes explained by the Greek colonies, the wars of 
the Poles under the two Boleslaus ; the conquests of 
the grand dukes of Lithuania; the invasion of the 
Tatars ; and other events of history. In one of them 
are some passages, word for word, to be found in 
Shakspere'^s " Hamlet." In another, a floating island in 
Keswick lake is so well and so precisely described, 
that no one can possibly doubt its reference to that 
island. It has, however, a singular tale attached to it. 
It is extremely difficult to trace the manner in which 
these two Ukrainian legends became so strangely asso- 
ciated with English literature and scenery. 


The superstitions of the Ukraine are numerous. 
The great enemy of mankind is sometimes called 
Didho, sometimes Biss, sometimes Satan, sometimes 
Czort. He is represented now under the form of a 
black dog ; now of a three-horned bull ; now of a he- 
goat ; now of a boy in a German dress, — this latter is 
not considered to be very malignant or dangerous, — he 
smokes tobacco, regales himself with cream, visits the 
ladies, taking the features and assuming the dress and 
manners of their husbands. The one in the form of a 
black dog is most dreaded ; he can be exorcised only by 
holy water and fervent prayers ; and when he yields, the 
hurricane takes place, which dances ^Ae Cossack vi^onihe 
Steppes. The apparition of a tall female, arrayed in 
white, with her arms folded, mourning . and wailing on 
the skirts of the forest, forebodes pestilence. The re- 
peated hootings of the owl are considered to prognos- 
ticate a corresponding number of deaths in the village 
during the space of three years. The appearance of 
a beautiful maiden, Topielitza, weeping and sobbing, 
on the banks of rivers or the margins of lakes, with 
her head hanging down, and dishevelled hair, represents 
the drowned unhappy one, who has murdered her 
illegitimate child ; and is destined, by way of penitence, 
to walk upon the marsh-plants, to induce the young of 
the opposite sex to come in pursuit of her, and perish in 
the waters, until some one succeeds in saving an infant 
from death by drowning. A woman with a beard, 
Czarownica, (pronounced Tcharovnitsa), is looked upon 


as a sorceress, and is accounted extremely dangerous. 
Such were sometimes burned. 

There prevailed also very singular notions and customs 
in regard to a being they called Pachole (pronounced 
Pakhole), which comes from, the Polish word Pacholeh^ 
signifying a mysterious orphan who knows not his 
parents, and who is left alone and without protection in 
the wide world ; and who appears to be the fruit of an 
ill-assorted marriage of a lady of quality with a husband 
of low grade. This orphan, without home or country 
or relatives, wandered about in quest of some one who 
might give him a resting-place, adopt him, and by acts 
of kindness banish from his mind the recollections of the 
miseries he had undergone : he generally appeared about 
eleven to eighteen years of age, and was accompanied by 
a large dog. This species of orphan boy enjoyed great 
privileges in the Ukraine, and received the especial pro- 
tection of the ladies, of the nuns, and above all of 
widows, who sometimes espoused them. They were ac- 
customed to sing plaintive songs by moonlight, under the 
window of some love-lorn widow. After the refrain at 
the conclusion of each stanza, the dog set up a howl, and 
the following dialogue ensued : 

Widow. Who is singing there ? — Boy, A Pachole, a 

Widow, What is your name? — Boy. I have no 

Widow, Where do your parents live ? — Boy. I have 
no parents. 


Widow. Where are your brother and sister, your 
cousins ? — JBoy. I have none. 

Widow. "Where do you live? — Boy. I have no 
home ; the wild Steppe is my bed, the heaven my 
covering; but perhaps I shall find a mother, or a 
kind female friend who will guard me from hunger, 
cold, and misery ; who will give me a cool shelter in 
summer, a warm one in winter, and will take care of 
my dog, that he become not the prey of wolves. 

Widow. Present yourself at the great gate of my 
abode, in presence of two witnesses ; I will adopt you, 
you shall be my son. (He was accordingly adopted, and 
inherited her possessions ; nor was it in the power of 
any one to entirely disinherit him). 

If the widow replied to the boy, ^' Your voice 
pleases me ; come in and be mine, we will be united ; 
such is the will of God," then they were married, 
and the marriage was considered legal, if the Pachole 
had attained his seventeenth year. If the widow re- 
sponded, " Knock at the gate, you shall receive my 
hospitality, as my guest you shall want for nothing ;" 
then he knocked accordingly, and came under the 
hospitable roof. 

This custom, unique and strange as it appears, pre- 
vailed in the Ukraine with greater or less modifications, 
and it may easily be accounted for. Wars continually 
raged in the Ukraine in ancient times ; the Zaporoguians 
carried oflf the children in their predatory and warlike 
excursions; these children were left to wander, when 


their captors might have perished by the sword. Like- 
wise, many children might have fled into the Ukraine 
when the Tatars had butchered their parents; these 
children received hospitality in the villages, and it 
would have been thought a crime to ill-treat them. The 
Cossack women also^ during the long absence of their 
husbands, often adopted such orphans. Hence is 
derived most certainly the Polish proverb, '' Happy as 
a Pachole with a Ukrainian widow/* (Szczesliwy iak 
na Ukrainie pacholek u wdowy.) 

The manner of drinking, amongst the Ukrainian 
people, with each other, strongly resembles the usages 
known on such occasions in England. A man who in- 
tends to drink a glass of brandy with another, takes a 
glass, rises, bows to him, and when the bow is returned 
he makes a speech and drinks his health, while the 
others are standing. His friends return the compli- 
ment, and all the guests follow in rotation with speeches, 
in which they all fehcitate themselves till they lose their 
senses and become inebriated. (It is called byczek,) 

Land in the Ukraine has greatly increased in value 
since the foundation of the port of Odessa; but as 
the roads are bad, and there is not any railroad 
yet completed, this port has not given that ex- 
tension which it would otherwise have given to the 
trade of this province. The roads of the Ukraine, from 
the nature of the soil, are bad only during the rains of 
spring and latter autumn ; at other seasons they are 
most excellent. The nobility of the Ukraine lately 


proposed to the Russian government to construct at 
their own expense, some good common roads, as well 
as railroads to the Black Sea for facilitating the export 
of grain; but this project incurred the displeasure of 
the Emperor Nicholas, and it was abandoned. There 
exists in the Ukraine a superstitious belief that, ac- 
cording to the prophecy of Vernyhora, the principal 
attack upon Russia will be made by the Ukraine, and 
that Poland will be restored by the Ukraine. The 
Russian government appears by no means disposed to 
favour any undertaking which might augment too 
much the revenues of the Ukrainian nobles, facilitate 
their communication, and give them access to the Black 
Sea, whence in case of war they may derive resources 
and reinforcements. 

If the lover of his country should perchance stray 
among the Steppes of the Ukraine, when the sun casts 
its setting glories over the plains, wherein the bones of 
ancient warriors have become dust, and drunk of Bo- 
kudo's blood ; the Ukraine will present to his imagina- 
tion an indefinable something between love and hatred, 
between civilisation and barbarism, between the past 
and the future, between the darkness of night and the 
brightness of day, between poetical fiction and reality, 
between Europe and Asia, between modern and ancient 
days; the nations whose names have perished; the nations 
whom tradition has preserved, — the Scythians, the Huns, 
the hordes of Ghengiskan, of Tamerlane, those of the 
Grand Dukes of Lithuania, the Russic chieftains, the 


Turks, the Poles, the Cossacks, the Swedes, the Kus- 
sians, — will pass before his eyes as a phantasmagoria on 
this arena of blood, on which Poland repelled during 
several ages the invasions of the barbarians, which were 
especially directed against civilised Europe. 

That Poland now, alas ! lies prostrate, bathed in her 
tears and moaning in the dust. Shall she perish ? No, 
she shall yet rise again. I see the Pole, the Cossack, 
and the Mahometan in a friendly embrace. I see a 
dazzling light in the west and in the east. I see a 
splendid cradle drawing forth from her imaginary 

Having depicted the country of the Steppes, let us now 
glance at the present state of Europe. Napoleon said, 
" Dans cinquante ans d'ici, toute TEurope sera libre, ou 
Cosaque," i. e., '^ every thing would depend on Poland." 
Should Russia sincerely attach Poland to herself— not 
by the subjugating sword, but by genuine acts of kind- 
ness, restoring to Poland its complete independence, 
then might these two great nations be eternally re- 
conciled, and Eussia thereby enabled to become indeed 
almost " mistress of Europe," but never otherwise. As, 
however, no such reconciliation is probable, and as, 
sooner or later, war between Russia and western Europe, 
that is, between despotism and liberty, must burst forth, 
— a war which will shake the most remote parts of the 
globe — it is incumbent on us to expose the weak point of 
Russia, and convince the reader, by facts, that Russia is 
really far weaker than other nations. Moreover, we must 


demonstrate that, in the event of war with Russia, if 
proper means are taken to strike at her vital point, she 
must be vanquished, and repulsed behind the Dzvina 
and the Dnieper within one year; but if, on the con- 
trary, she is allowed to concentrate her whole strength, 
if she be not attacked with wisdom and vigour, she may 
prove the victor ; may, if aided by Austria, swallow 
up the Turkish empire ; may pour her barbarous hordes 
in the west, and may inflict terrible mischief on the 
whole of Europe (France alone excepted) for centuries. 
If a sportsman, when confronted by a tiger, levels his gun 
at its paw or leg, he may wound slightly that tiger and 
himself perish ; if, on the contrary, he aims at the heart, 
the animaFs terrific growl of anguish will testify that the 
shot has taken effect ; and, without peril to himself, 
the sportsman may slay the ferocious beast. So if a 
ravenous wolf is prowling near a farm, it is the farmer's 
duty for the safety of his herd to maim or kill it. This 
comparison is, to a great extent, correct as respects 
Russia and her neighbour nations. Russia is specially 
dangerous, not to France, but to Germany, Austria, 
Turkey, and even England. It is difficult to conceive 
that any German army could victoriously contest in a 
pitched battle with a Russian army. The latter, composed 
of men of sterner stuff, more accustomed to hardship, to 
the rules of iron discipline, possessing the advantage of 
unity of command, longing for pillage and rapine, and its 
movements protected by swarms of Cossacks, must have 
ultimately a decided advantage over the former ; the 


more so, that while Germany is vulnerable the whole 
year, Russia is scarcely vulnerable for six months. 
For checking at once such a calamity, at any time 
pregnant with danger to civilized Europe, there are 
only two modes. One consists in having an immense 
standing army, in magnitude double that of Russia, 
which would necessarily entail increased taxes, and 
swallow more gold than Crcesus ever possessed ; and 
the other mode presents itself in rendering Poland 
sincere assistance in regaining her independence, 
to dissolve the principal aggressive resources of Russia, 
and to weaken in every direction that power. The 
second remedy is, in every respect less troublesome, 
and appears far more certain than the first. What is 
Russia ? It is rather a government than a nation ; 
a government, whose first edition reverts to the time of 
Ivan the Cruel, and its second edition Peter the Great 
and the debaucheries of Catherine II. It is a govern- 
ment which, from the Gulf of Finland to the Chinese 
boundary ; from the Black and the Caspian to the 
White Sea; from the Pacific to the Baltic; exists 
only by rapine, plunder, oppression, and systematic de- 
moralization. Russia is continually augmenting her 
armies; increasing her large navy (which costs her 
immense sums, though she has no colonies) ; intriguing 
in all parts of the world ; undermining some years ago 
the British power in India ; watching the movements of 
Turkey, almost as a spider watches the movements of 
a fly ; menacing the whole of Germany with invasion ; 


speaking of religion and God, yet scorning and perse- 
cuting every creed which is not of Greek persuasion ; 
spreading her propaganda of panslavisra, which visibly 
disorganises, under various colours and different shades, 
the vital parts of Turkey and several other states. 
Further, bribing swarms of authors and periodicals in 
foreign countries, she prostitutes with the utmost im- 
pudence, the words of justice, disinterestedness, and 
virtue, and dares to speak of her pacific intention; 
because she was suddenly stopped in her aggressive 
career by the magic and all powerful word Poland ! 
Happily, Kussia has in herself the germ of her own 
destruction. There is no law, no liberty of the press, 
no personal security in Eussia. All the civilians, and 
the army, are so badly paid that, according to approx- 
imative calculations, they cannot subsist more than two 
months in the year out of their pay, and, therefore, 
during the remaining ten months they must exist by 
robbery. Plundering the people, and compelled to main- 
tain their own superiors, they let loose the flood-gates 
of immorality, and excite general hatred or contempt 
to the government. In short, they form one cancer of 
corruption, and promote insurrection, the more so that 
the Russian nobles may be considered as the very heart 
of despotism. There being almost no control over 
them, they are at times more oppressive than the 
czar himself, and the Russian people, therefore, are 
subjected, not to one but a whole swarm of tyrants. A 
Russian noble is sole master and sovereign of his serf; 


le can flog him at any time, and as brutally as he 
pleases ; he can choose any female that his unbridled 
lust may desire ; he can transport his serf under any 
pretext to Siberia; he can sell his serf, or tax his 
labour to the uttermost, as it may suit his convenience 
or rapacity ; and woe to a serf who presumes to mur- 
mur against the oppression of his lord. Such a frightful 
and artificial state of society cannot possibly exist in the 
present state of Europe without endangering the whole 
structure of the Russian empire, the more so, that a 
regular democratic element exists among the Cossacks 
and other semi-civilized hordes nominally subjected to 
Russia. The historical reminiscences given in previous 
chapters, testify that the Cossacks have never been com- 
pletely reduced under the Muscovite sway. Centuries 
of Russian domination has utterly failed in assimilating 
the Cossack to the Russian; and Cossack hostility to 
Russia, like the sacred fire of the ancient Persians, has 
never been extinguished. Thus, at the very commence- 
ment of the Russian supremacy in the Ukraine, we 
behold Stenko Razin — an obscure Cossack, previously 
unknown, even by name, to his tribe — exciting a for- 
midable insurrection against Russia. Throughout the 
desperate war waged by Stenko Razin, he did not re- 
ceive the slightest aid, or even countenance, from any 
foreign power, yet his self-energy alone enabled him to 
rally 200,000 men round the standard of revolt. He 
vanquished Russian army after army ; subjugated the 
kingdom of Astrakan ; checked Russian influence in 


Persia; marclied upon Moscow itself; and, in brief, 
made Russia tremble to her very foundation. Nay, 
had not Stenko Razin been betrayed into the hands of 
his enemies, he would, most assuredly have overthrown 
the Romanow dynasty, and seated himself on the Mus- 
covite throne. A century after this, we behold the 
Cossack, Pugatchef, at the head of innumerable barba- 
rous hordes, who gave him constant proofs of their 
devotion even under the most unfavourable circum- 
stances. Five times repulsed, yet five times he re- 
newed the contest. During the terrific struggle he 
routed several well organised Russian armies, con- 
quered Kasan, and the whole country between the 
Ural Mountains and the Volga, and threatened Mos- 
cow itself with destruction ! What, then, is to be 
done? Why, to attack Russia by press and in- 
surrections, and to raise against her those very bar- 
barian hordes with which she threatens Western 
Europe ; to re-establish the independence of Poland ; 
to restore to Sweden and Germany their former pro- 
vinces; to liberate the Russian serfs; to excite an 
insurrection in the military colonies, where rebellion 
has already twice broken out ; to give to the Cossacks, 
to the Mahometans, to the Mato Russes, to the Kirg- 
hise, to the Circassians, and the other large tribes now 
under Russian domination, kings, who may protect 
their own nationalities, establish regular governments, 
and erect their countries into separate states. It is 
deserving of note, that Colonel Dorigni, a foreign re- 


fugee in the Russian service, proposed to the French 
cabinet during the seven years' war, to raise 300,000 
Kherghes and Tcheramess against Russia, and he was 
confident of the success of such a raising. Napoleon, 
gigantic genius as he was, yet knew not where to strike 
a real blow on Russia. If instead of sending his armies 
into Russia, he had but adopted the line of policy here 
suggested, with proper care and activity he would 
easily have humbled Russia. Russia was then, as I 
have proved it now to be, weaker internally than any 
other European state, in which such rebellions as those 
above referred to have never been known, and, indeed, 
are impossible. In fact, a conspiracy of some Russian 
colonels can, at any time, shake the whole Russian 
empire ; especially in the military colonies. 

It may be remarked that the weakness of any govern- 
ment is always in proportion to the number of spies 
employed by that government ; and in no country are 
they so numerous as in Russia. However, the secret 
police, so formidable in Russia, have failed in checking 
the frequent conspiracies against the government — con- 
spiracies that may yet prove successful. I will but add, 
that every attack on Russia from the Pacific, or from 
the regions of the White, jCaspian, Black, and Baltic 
seas, is fraught with danger to her. 

In conclusion, I may remark that although the 
present state of Germany, and of Europe generally 
clearly proves that communism or socialism is nowhere 
in fashion on the continent (and thanks to General 



Cavaignac, is almost extirpated in France) ; yet, at the 
same time, the progress of despotism — such as that of 
Russia — is quite out of the question. A strong re- 
action against ultra-democratic principles is visible, and 
their fallacy clearly proved ; but a new era of European 
reasonable liberty is to be established on the basis of 
a real friendship between England and France. Eng- 
land has no other desire than to behold France great 
and powerful, and never intended to interfere in her 
internal affairs. Lamartine testified himself a wise 
politician as respects England, since he foresaw well the 
consequence that might spring out of an unjustifiable 
interference with the threatened Irish insurrection. To 
quote from my work '^ The Poles in the Seventeenth 
Century," I can but exclaim, " Let then France and 
England unite heart and hand ; let them extinguish 
every spark of petty rivalry. Not then, would Russia 
raise her despotic head, but these two nations might 
exercise a salutary influence over the civilized world. 
Cherished and adored by the whole human race, they 
might crush oppression, annihilate tyranny, and restore 
to their former integrity the nation that has been dis- 
membered, and, for a time, enslaved !" 

See Clarke, Beauplan, and Lesur, Description de 
rUkraine, Malte Brun, Chodzko, Siviecki, Staszyc 
Count Lewis Plater, Bzonczynski Sarnicki, &c. &c. 



Page 3. (a). — Kazachia Orda was a tribe known in the Caucasus 
long before the word Kozak was known in Europe, Some writers say, 
that Schah Matey, the Tatar khan of the Wolga, bound by a treaty 
made with John Albert, king of Poland, to make war with the khan of 
the Crimea, had a brother of the name of Kosak, whom he sent to the 
Nogay Tatars for reinforcements, and that that brother, having a 
whole tribe of Tatars under his command, gave the name of Kosak to 
the whole Kosak nation, in whose territory the conflicts between the 
two Tatar chiefs were raging. Others assert, that the name is 
derived from the Polish word Koza, which means a goat, in order to 
give an idea of the swiftness of the Cossacks. Sherer, in the Annals 
of Lesser Russia, asserts, that they derive their name from a sUp of 
land called Kossa (a scythe). The Poles and the Russians mean by 
the word Kosak, a brigand lightly armed. See Cromer, p. 452 ; 
Lesur, pp. 185, 186. 

Page 3. (6). Such is the version of Lesur, but he contradicts him- 
self visibly respecting the Cossacks of the Ukraine ; and we would 
rather be inclined to follow the opinion of Cromer, and other PoHsh 
historians, who assigned the existence of the Cossacks to the ninth 

Page 6. (c). — See Cromer, Sherer, and other historians, who mention 
that the militia of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which, after the 
annexation of the Ukraine to Poland, passed completely under the 
dominion of the Polish crown, was dressed, in the reign of the Polish 

276 NOTES. 

king Kazimir Jagellon in English grey woollen-cloth. The above-men- 
tioned militia were no other men but Cossacks. 

Page 12. (d). — See Lesur, Beauplan, about the inhabitants of the 

Page 13. The Kings of Poland were the possessors of certain 
lands belonging to the crown, which they were obliged to give to the 
Polish nobles, who signalised themselves in war, or in council, or who, 
on other occasions, might have deserved well of their country. These 
lands varied in value, according to the rank and merits of those to 
whom they were assigned. They were not given in perpetuity, but 
for life, sometimes for two or three generations, but very seldom as a 
heritage. The widows very often continued in possession of these 
estates till the time of their death, and none but nobles could receive 
them. They were called in Polish Starostwa. The title of Starosta 
was enjoyed by the possessor of them, and his consort was entitled 
Staroscina ; the Starosta's son was called Staroscic, and the Starosta's 
daughter Staroscianka, and the name of the estate or village was often 
adjoined to the title. The Starosta enjoyed a certain authority on 
their estates, especially during the interregnum. There were two 
sorts of Starosta, those who enjoyed the magistracy on their estates, 
and those who did not enjoy the same privilege ; yet it is to be re- 
marked, that when a Polish noble had nine sons, six of which were in 
the army, he received an estate of the government and was Starosta. 

Page 14. (e).— See Lesur sur les Kosaques ; Beauplan's Description 
de rUkraine. 

Page 20. (/). — Czayki (pronounced tchaiqui), means, in Polish, the 
sewwicks. These boats were so called on account of their lightness. 

Page 21. (g). — The Polish Cossacks, according to Beauplan, used 
in their piratical expeditions a kind of cask, which contained a quan- 
tity of fresh water, so well preserved that it never putrified, and 
acquired at sea, even with the length of time, a better taste. The secret 
of preserving sweet water from putrefaction— a secret which would 
be of the greatest importance in navigation— was never disclosed by 
the Cossacks. Several historians mention it. It seems now to be 
completely lost . 

Page 29. (A).— According to Lesur, p. 321, Czaplinski, after ravishing 
the lady of Klimielnitski on the dead body of her son, massacred her, 
put Khmielnitski in prison, and burned his house. Lesur, however, 
who wrote his History of the Cossacks in 1813 and 1814, dwells often 
on all things unfavourable to Poland. He mentions that the Cossack 

NOTES. 277 

chief, Nalevayko, vanquished and taken prisoner by the celebrated 
Polish chieftain Zulkiewski, in 1598, was publicly burned at Warsaw, 
in a copper bull made on purpose ; when it is a well known fact, 
which I minutely investigated, that nothing of the kind ever happened 
in Poland. Nalevayko was beheaded. Some authors assert that 
Czaplinski ill-treated Khmielnitski, burned his house, put him in 
prison, and lived publicly with his wife. 

Page 56. (t). — It is a singular fact, that a real democracy does not 
exist anywhere but among the Cossacks. How then the democratic 
element can harmonize with the Russian government and the Russian 
aristocracy, the very heart of despotism, and the most decided element 
of oppression and tyranny, it is difficult to account. These two con- 
trary elements, which have already had some collision, cannot ulti- 
mately harmonize, and must sooner or later fight to the death. 


Page 65. (a). — A young Circassian, Prince Pereghorski, previously 
taken prisoner by Stenko Razin, was obliged, by the orders of the 
latter, to assume the character of the czarewicz, in the bark covered 
with red velvet ; in that covered with black velvet, another young 
man represented Nickon, the disgraced patriarch. The above named 
Prince Pereghorski was pardoned and kindly treated by the Czar 
Alexy, as it was undoubtedly proved that the former was compelled to 
do so under the fear of a violent death. See relation of the Rebellion 
of Stenko Razin. 

Page 69. (6).— To this time, this name, the Suburb of Hell, still 
exists, according to the author of the relation of the Rebellion of 
Stenko Razin. 


Page 74. (a). — Suppressed. 

Page 77. List of the Attamans Koshovy of the Polish Ukrainian 
Cossacks, nominated by the kings of Poland, or approved by them, till 
the defection of Khmielnitski : — 1, Pzeclaw Lanckoronski (pronounced 
Fshetzlaf Landskorongski), called also Pazetzlav Lantski Bronski, first 
chief attaman of the Polish Cossacks, nominated in 1506 by Sigis- 
mund I. ; 2, Ostaphy Daszkiewicz (pronounced Dashkievitch) ; 3, Ro- 
zynski (pronounced Rojinski) ; 4, Wezyk Chelmicki (pronounced Van 
jick Khelmitski) ; 5, Twerkoski (pronounced Tferkoski) ; 6, Bohdanko 
Rozynski (Rojinski) ; 7, Podhowa {Podkovd)^ means in Polish a horse 

278 NOTES. 

shoe ; 8, Szah (Sshagk) ; 9, Skalozup (Skalozoop) ; 10, Kosemski (Ko- 
samski); 11, Nalevayko (JValavaiko) ; 12, Piotr Konasewicz Sahay- 
daczny (Peter Konasavitch Saghaydatchny) ; 13, Yaras (Yaras) ; 14, 
Saavkanof-Perewieska (Savakanof-Paraviaska) ; 15, Pawluk (Pav- 
look ; 16, Ostranica {Ostranitza) \ 17, Poltora-Kozuch (JPooltora-Ko- 
joogh) ; 18, Buluk {Boolook) ; 19, Sineroy Bohdan Chmielnicki (Sina- 
voi Boghdan Khmielnitski). Among the aboTe-mentioned Polish Cos- 
sack chiefs, or attamans, Ostafy Daszkiewicz, Twerkowski, Boghdanko 
Rozynski, Shah, Nalevayko, Sahaydaczny, and Khmielnitski, were the 
most celebrated. After the defection of Khmielnitzki to Russia, in 
1654, the Cossack chiefs in Russia were, and are to this time desig- 
nated under the title of Hetmans, a title borrowed from Poland, cor- 
responding in meaning to the general-in-chief, and which lasted in 
Poland till the partition of the latter country. 

After the defection of Khmielnitzki, as there were continual wars 
between Russia and Poland respecting the Cossacks, and as the Zapo- 
rogues formed a distinct community, though there were more atta- 
mans Koshovy nominated by the kings of Poland, yet as the Cossacks 
of the Ukraine alternately acknowledged the supremacy of Poland, 
Russia, and Turkey, it is extremely difficult to trace the regular suc- 
cession of their attamans. 

Page So. {h). — Suppressed. 

Page 82. (c). — Colonel Lagowski, who spent part of his life in the 
Ukraine, and was a living dictionary of the Russic lands, mentioned, 
with many other persons, that the Zaporogues, leading several years 
a wild life on the islands of the Dnieper, acquired sometimes, if young, 
a secret love charm for the ladies, which, if once known by them, in- 
creased their attachment to a sort of phrenzy for those who pos- 
sessed it. The colonel alluded to, who gave himself the trouble of 
describing this charm, says, that it was often transmitted from the 
father to the son ; that the use of the waters of the Dnieper near the 
cataracts, and the river Boh, especially at the time when a kind of red 
flower is blooming on the Steppes, — a flower whose aromatic scent has 
been known to invigorate the human frame, — produced occasionally 
such a charm. Be this as it may, I have heard several times of that 
charm, and a gentleman well-known in Volhynia and the Ukraine, of 
the name of Iwanicki (pronounced Ivanitski), probably still alive, 
has been known to possess undoubtedly such a charm. 

Page 85. (</).— Some authors assert that the Lissowczyki, a kind of 
light cavalry, which jierformed extraordinary feats of valour abroad 

NOTES. "279 

and in Poland, during the reign of Sigismnnd III., were recruited 
among the Zaporogues : they were almost all killed on the field of 


Page 92. (a). — Not aU things in Mazeppa's early life are explained. 
We never could find any authentic information on Mazeppa's re- 
venge, which is mentioned in Byron's work. 


Page 106. (a) — Schismatic. The Russians of the Greek church 
not united, were so called because they seceded from the metropolitan 
of Constantinople and acknowleged the czar as their patriarch. By 
the Synod of Brzesc Litewski, in 1594, under the reign of Sigismimd 
ni.. King of Poland, a voluntary union between the Polish subjects 
of the Greek Church and the Roman Catholic, was partly accom- 
plished, by which the Polish Unitarians acknowledged the supremacy 
of the Pope, retained however the Sclavonian language in the cele* 
bration of divine service, and were not subjected to the inconveniences 
of celibacy ; they were, however, not allowed to marry more than once, 
and not with a widow, and were obliged to shave their beards. The 
metropolitan of Kiow, with several Bishops, publicly assented to that 
union with great pomp. This wise and important political event hap- 
pened under the papacy of Clement VIII. , and was accomplished chiefly 
by the exertions of Adam Pociey, Bishop of Vladimir, and Terlecki, 
Bishop of Lutzk. From that time the followers of that creed were called 
Unici, Unitarians, or Unistes ; sometimes Greek Catholics. Six millions 
of them were formerly under the Polish domination. They were always 
subjected to annoyances and persecutions by the Russian Govern- 
ment, especially during the present reign. The Emperor Nicholas 
ordered their suppression. The celebrated nun, Svientoslawska, (the 
Abbess of Minsk), whose name was so familiar to the British and 
French newspapers not long since, is of that creed. From two 
hundred Greek Catholic nuns, above one hundred and eighty died in 
torments, which are too shocking to be mentioned. In vain the 
Russian Ambassador attempted to contradict these cruelties, 
they were corroborated and satisfactorily proved. The apos- 
tate villain, who became, by sordid and selfish motives, the infa- 
mous and principal tormentor of the nuns of Minsk, came to an un- 
timely end. He did even terrible harm to the Emperor Nicholas' 

280 NOTES. 

and increased his unpopularity everywhere. In spite of all this, 
there are some miserable authors connected with Petersburgh, who 
dare to mention, for sordid motives, under the beards of the Poles in 
a foreign country, things contrary to historical facts and their own 
conviction. They preach, indirectly, the Greek creed in Poland, and 
other ideas tending to increase visibly the Kussian power ; in doing 
so, the above authors wiU injure only their open protectors, but not 
the sacred cause of Poland. Two millions of Unistes are yet to be 
found in Gallicia. It is to be remarked that two descendants, in 
direct line, from the illustrious families of Pociey and Terlecki, are 
among the Polish emigrants. The worthy Count Pociey is at Paris, 
and John Terlecki (pronounced Terletski) in London. The latter? 
for years, was copying in the British archives, documents connected 
with Polish history. He went recently to Posen, believing in the 
probability of a War with Russia, and having received a wound, came 
back to England and resumed his laudable occupation. He is a 
native of the same province as myself, and though we may differ in 
opinion on some branches of Polish politics, I consider his conduct 
with me, as well as with everyone who knows him well, perfectly in 
accordance with an honourable man. Among the real Polish emi- 
grants in England, no one possesses more superior knowledge of his- 
tory and geography than Baszczewicz, (pronounced Bashtchevitch) : 
more fortunate than most other Poles, he formed an accidental ac- 
quaintance with an influential clergyman, who procured him a situa- 
tion, with a fixed salary, at Leamington, where he became professor 
of universal history. Sheltered completely from want, and being of 
a quiet disposition, he devoted his time to sedentary occupation and 
study, and acquired a stock of information difficult to describe. His 
pupils presented him with a splendid watch as a testimonial of their 
good wishes and regard. It is a well-known fact, that the protestant 
clergy, at all times liberal and eager in promoting knowledge, were 
the tried and most valuable friends of the Poles. 

A rather curious usage exists among the Unistes. The consecration 
of their respective churches is annually commemorated by a kind of 
fete called praznik. This is attended by the neighbouring clergy and 
their families, as also by the proprietor of the village (who is mostly 
the owner of the presentation) with other guests. The reunion lasts 
the whole day, and the guests are regaled with various delicacies, 
including a sort of cake {kolduny), 'strongly resembling the English 
plum-pudding. In the evening a peculiar dance, accompanied by 

NOTES. 281 

singing, takes place. It is called poduszeczka (pronounced podoos- 
chetchka), and may be thus described. A circle of gentlemen and 
ladies is formed, with a lady or gentleman in the centre. The song 
and dance terminated, the centre performer flings a handkerchief to 
one of the other sex, bestowing at the same time a kiss upon the 
party so selected. The receiver of the kiss then takes his or her 
place in the centre, dancing and singing are resumed, concluding, as 
before, with the flinging of the handkerchief and kiss, and ^so on, imtil 
the entire company have participated in the " fim." A yet more 
singular custom winds up the festivities of the day. The number of 
guests precluding the accommodation of beds, their hosts endeavour 
to obviate that difSculty by strewing hay on the floor, with a cover- 
ing of carpets and blankets, upon which all are necessitated to repose 
for the night. But previous to preparing this " shake-down," (as it 
would be designated in England), the company are numbered, the 
gentlemen's numbers being placed in one purse, and the ladies' num- 
bers in another. The youngest boy and girl are then called in, and 
they draw the numbers, by way of lottery, until each lady is provided 
with a " sleeping partner " of the other sex. So strictly is this ad- 
hered to, that even husbands and wives, or brothers and sisters, are 
forbidden to sleep close to each other, if not favoured by the lottery — 
in which, as a matter of course, some trickery occasionally prevails. 
It may be assum'ed that this strange mingling of the sexes sometimes 
leads to unwarrantable liberties. However, this is not of frequent 
occurrence, as they endeavour, as far as possible, to guard against 
such an abuse by forbidding any one from disrobing, and by having a 
lamp burning, throughout the night, in the corner of the adjacent 
chamber. Besides, the guests are, generally speaking, sufl&ciently 
numerous to be a mutual check upon indulgence in any impropriety. 
In my youth I personally assisted at several such reunions on the 
estates of my late maternal uncle, Mr. Gabryel Orzeszko. I recollect 
that on one occasion a jealous-minded young clergyman, the hus- 
band of a beautiful woman, — who attracted the admiration of the 
whole neighbourhood, protested against the chance of the lottery, 
imfavourable to his wishes. This raised a storm. The master and 
mistress of the parsonage, especially the latter, were extremely 
oflended that he should imagine for an instant that anything improper 
could possibly occur in their house. Indeed he narrowly escaped 
being well thrashed, though he stuck to the last to the safer side of 
the question, in matrimonial fidelity. These fetes are invariably held 

282 NOTES. 

in the latter part of autumn, or in winter. But the peculiar custom 
here described is not limited to the Unistes. It was popular among 
the Greek clergy, and prevails, with slight modifications, in some of 
the wild districts of the ancient kingdom of Poland. Doubtless it 
originated in the unbounded hospitality of those secluded regions, 
where bad roads, snow storms, and numerous hordes of prowling 
wolves, render internal communication in winter extremely diflBcult. 
Something somewhat similar, but under diflferent circumstances, 
exists, I believe, in the rural districts of Great Britain, as in Wales 
the custom of "bundhng " is well known. So also in the Carpathian 
mountains, where a Highlander courting a widow, was privileged, 
by custom, to consider her as his lawful wife during forty-eight 
hours, with the option of subsequently marrying or leaving her. 
This singular custom is not yet abolished, and is called /^-^/erAa. 

Page 106. (6).— The confederation of Bar was signed on the 29th 
of February, 1768, in Podolia, by Adam Krasinski, the Bishop of 
Kamienietz, his brother Michael, Prancis Potocki, and Pulawski, for 
the protection of the Roman Catholic religion, and the expulsion of 
the Russians from Poland. 

Page 111. (c). — The cruelties perpetrated by Gonta and Zelezniak, 
during the religious rebellion of 1768, are beyond all power of descrip- 
tion. There was a hall at Houmagne where they compelled naked 
women to dance on the floor covered with broken glass. These unfortu- 
nate ladies were surrounded with spears, and often stabbed while the 
music was playing. 

Page 112. (c?). — These are things which cannot be mentioned. 


Page 119. (a).— Suppressed. 

Page 120. — Zelezniak promised to spare every one at Lysianka 
if the gates of the town were opened to him. Its governor was 
suoh a fool that he complied with this proposition j but no sooner did 
he do so, than a general massacre ensued. 

Page 126. (6). —Levelel says, that when the inhabitants of Houmagne 
were slaughtered, some young females of great beauty were spared, 
holy water was thrown on them on account of their changing their 
creed, and they were given to the Haidaraaques. The rebellious pea- 
sants were called Haidamaques. Only three boys were spared by acci- 
dent ; they secured themselves on the top of the church, and re- 


mained three days without food ; among them was the brother of 
Colonel Lagowski, who became a clergyman. 


Page 175. (a). — In an old novel, entitled "Les Annales de Leghorn," 
it is aflirmed that the Princess Tarakhanof inspired a real passion in an 
Italian youth at Pisa, who having been introduced to her at a party, 
accidentally discovered the fatal snare so artfully prepared for her de- 
Btruction. On the sadden departure of the princess from Pisa, her 
southern lover followed her to Leghorn, resolved on saving her, or 
perishing himself in the attempt ; but by a strange fatality, which 
sometimes mars human purposes, he arrived too late, and as she was 
just embarking on board the Russian man-of-war. Had he arrived 
but a few minutes sooner, he would in all probability have preserved 
her from her fate. He waS seen running with extraordinary speed 
towards the sea shore, crying and gesticulating, and was taken for a 
madman. Polled in this attempt to save the princess, he feU senseless 
to the ground, overwhelmed by excitement and despair. This anec- 
dote, slightly varied in detail only, was further narrated to me by 
several persons ; consequently I am induced to believe it based 
on fact. 

By the way, speaking of love at first sight, her Imperial Highness 
the present Grand Duchess Michel of Russia is most likely uncon- 
scious, and may always remain so, that she also excited such a passion 
in the bosom of a private Polish soldier, attached to the first division 
of infantry, and who was hence nicknamed by his comrades Wielki 
Xiaze Michal, that is. Grand Due Michel. Previous to the war of 
1831 the Grand Duchess made frequent visits to Warsaw, and was 
then seen by her humble Pohsh admirer, whose peace of mind 
she then unintentionally destroyed. How I became the confidant 
of this poor fellow's hopeless love may perhaps amuse the reader. 
One day previous to the insurrection of 1831 I sallied forth on a 
shooting excursion in the neighbourhood of Warsaw, and meeting with 
my brother oflBcer, Chmielinski, who was enjoying a ramble, induced 
him to accompany me. Scarcely had we entered the forest of Bielany, 
when, in a secluded part of it we perceived a private Polish soldier 
reclining despondingly, on the brink of a rivulet, while big tears 
were trickling down his sorrow-stricken cheeks. Having observed 
him at first in silence, we called to him, but received no answer. 
Lieut. Chmielinski then touched him slightly on the shoulder, when 


he turned quickly round, and recognizing his superiors, made his 
obeisance. We then inquired the reason of his grief, promising, if 
possible, to alleviate it. He answered that he wanted not money, 
nor had he to complain of any ill treatment, but that death alone 
could terminate sufferings for which there was no remedy what- 
ever. After some entreaty, he frankly confessed his unconquer- 
able passion for her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Helene of 
Russia, consort of the Grand Duke Michel, youngest brother of the 
Emperor Nicholas. This confession was corroborated by these words 
carved on the trees— Cudowna, piekna, hloga, Wielka, Xiezna, Micha- 
lowa. (Wonderful, beautiful, sweet, Grand Duchess Michel !) We ad- 
vised him to be chary in talking of his love, as there was no telling 
what effect such a tale, if known, might have on the mind of the 
Grand Due Michel, and especially on that of the Grand Due Con- 
stantine his brother, then commanding the Polish army. The latter, 
if apprised of his malady, would probably have prescribed a twitch 
dance on his skin, as the most effectual means of cure. His comrades, 
however, frequently teazed him, and even reproached him, that he 
was enamoured of a Russian lady. This always put him in a passion, 
and he answered that the Grand Duchess was a German, and not a 
Russian lady. 

A passion for a married lady seldom produces on the lover's part a 
friendly feeling towards the husband, but it did so in this instance- 
Lieut. -Colonel Gorski subsequently informed me, that during the last 
war, 1831, before a general engagement between the Polish army and 
the Russian guard, the soldier above referred to oflBcially apprised 
his superiors, that although otherwise determined to do his duty in the 
field as became a Polish soldier, yet should he chance to be confronted 
sword to sword with the Grand Duke Michel, he would neither kill 
nor wound his imperial antagonist, in order to spare the bitter 
anguish which such misfortune would probably produce on the mind 
of the Grand Duchess, but that he should have no objection to make 
him a prisoner. 

This singular declaration naturally excited general hilarity among 
the oflBcers, who, at all times courteous to the ladies, afforded the Grand 
Duchess's ardent admirer the opportunity of drinking sundry glasses 
of excellent claret, to the health and prosperity of the fair object of 
his affection, whom he saw but twice for an instant, and with whom 
he never exchanged a word. The taste of the Polish soldier was by 
no means a bad one : the Grand Duchess proved to be the best dancer 

NOTES. 285 

at the fashionable Polish balls at Warsaw ; she is of dignified stature 
and graceful deportment ; she bears an equal resemblance to the 
Marchioness of Aylesbury and Viscountess Palmerston, and thus 
realising our conception of a Scandinavian queen, one of those northern 
beauties so glowingly portrayed in Ossian's poetry. She received a 
superior education at the celebrated seminary of Madame Campan, 
protected by Napoleon, and was there called la belle savante. 

His Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Michel when in a passion 
is like a lion, ready to tear, it is said, everything before him, but when 
the passion is over, he is sociable, and such a wit, that his jests force a 
smile on the most care-stricken countenances. Albeit he is a Eussian, 
he behaved well some years ago to one of my female relatives at 
Carlsbad. He saved her intended from a journey to Siberia. Indeed 
he does not seem to partake of the deadly hatred of the generality of 
the Russians towards the Poles, nor is he so much hated by them. 

It is to be remarked that the late Grand Duchess Constantine ex • 
cited almost a similar passion at first sight in the heart of Baranski, 
one of the strongest men in the guard in the late Polish army, pro- 
bably still alive ; but the latter saw her often at the reviews. She 
even remarked him first, and the late Grand Duke, her husband^ 
wishing to oblige his wife, and having been apprised of his good con- 
duct, promoted him to the rank of an officer. 


Page 187. (a). — As everything on Russia now is interesting and 
excites the general curiosity, it may not be amiss to give a sketch 
of her principal military commanders. 

The most powerful men in Russia, after the emperor, are Princes 
Worontzof and Paszkiewich. 

The former has an aristocratic name ; has been in England, and 
has the reputation of being an accomplished gentleman, an able 
administrator, a man of extensive knowledge and information, 
rather than a great general, though he is not altogether deficient 
in military capacity. He has always, it is said, advised peace being 
made with the Circassians, against whom, no Russian general was 
ever successful. He owes his elevation not only to his enormous 
wealth, to his high friends and connexions at the Russian court, but 
also to the minor military successes of Prince Dolgorouki and General 

As to Prince Paszkiewich, he is a man that does not belong to the 



Russian aristocracy by birth, but who owes his elevation chiefly to 
his own exertions, and to some favourable events attending his cam- 
paigns. His military capacity in the last Polish war was much 
exaggerated. When he took the command of the Russian army in 
Poland, in 1831, the Poles were deserted and discouraged ; their 
indomitable valour was gradually and systemically shaken by the 
indecision, weakness, and incapacity of their leaders ; and by many 
treasonable machinations which might have been prevented and 
crushed, had more energetic measures been taken, a true govern- 
ment established, and some generals been shot. The cancer of 
anarchy and corruption had spread in all directions. Under such 
favourable circumstances, any general possessing a moderate share 
of ability and patience, and with such extensive means at his dis- 
posal as Paszkiewich had, might have been equally successful. But, 
as to his former campaigns in Persia and Turkey, no lover of fair 
play, who carefully studies them, can possibly deny him military 
talents ; and his rule -in Poland, under difficult and trying circum- 
stances, denotes a sagacious mind : and though Paszkiewich is not a 
man of Suvarof cruelty, and is not disliked, it is said, by the 
generality of the Poles, the following circumstance will convince 
the reader how terrible are the means he sometimes employs for 
repressing abuses and disorders : — 

Some time since, a Polish gentleman with his wife and daughter 
left Warsaw in a carriage and four ; and, contrary to the advice of 
his friends, was returning, in the night, to his home in the country. 
Scarcely had he proceeded a few English miles from Warsaw, when 
he was stopped by a Circassian cavalry patrol. He was robbed, his 
servants beaten, his wife and daughter ill-used, and one of the 
ruffians cut off his lady's finger on which was a large diamond. 
As the use of every kind of weapon is forbidden in Poland, the 
gentleman, in the struggle, repelled several of the assailants with his 
fist, and gave one of the Russians such a happy blow with his pipe 
on the hind part of his head, that it stunned the ruffian, who fell 
senseless to the ground ; and soon afterwards another travelling car- 
riage liberated the Polish family from further molestation. As the 
outrage occurred almost within sight of Warsaw, the gentlemen, 
indignant at such a robbery on the public highway, returned imme- 
diately thither ; and alighting directly at Paszkiewich 's residence, 
demanded an interview with the latter ; the prince soon came out, 
and felt eager to know what he wanted. Scarcely had the Russian 

NOTES. 287 

field-marshal made his appearance, when the Polish lady, excited by 
the loss of her finger and by the infamous treatment to which they 
had been subjected, opened so skilful an attack on the latter in her 
first burst of indignation, (and with her cutting eloquence inter- 
spersed with sobbing and screammg), that the conqueror of Poland, 
unprepared to parry her reproaches and forcible arguments, could 
not at first say a word in justification ; but, after a while answered, 
*' Madam, remember with whom you are speaking ; if you address me thus 
in public, I shall be obliged to punish you : but, enter my house with your 
husband, and I give you my word of honour, as a soldier, that no harm 
shall be done to you : and there you may say to me what you think pro- 
per" She then entered his house, where she was patiently listened 
to ; — and when a Polish lady unbridles her tongue it is no joke. 
Paszkiewich, in all probability, heard such verba veritatis, as he will 
never hear again. At all events, he promised her to take all neces- 
sary measures for punishing the guilty parties. He called his 
aide-de-camp and gave him peremptory orders that all the Cir- 
cassians who were engaged in patroling the previous night, 
should attend, without the exception of a single man, (whether sick 
or dead,) in the Saxon square, the next morning ; and after taking 
leave of the injured ladies, he requested the Polish gentleman to 
attend him there at the proper time. The next day he inspected, 
personally, all the Circassians, made the most minute inquiries, but 
could not discover the guilty parties ; and asked the gentleman, 
alluded to, whether he could recognise any one among these soldiers 
who had robbed him on the preceding night ; the latter answered, 
that it was a dark and starless night, and his conscience would not 
allow him to criminate any particular man unjustly ; that he thought 
however, that they belonged to the field-marshal's guard ; and, that 
the one who received a blow on the head from him, must have a mark. 
The field-marshal immediately ordered that all the men belonging 
to the Circassian detachments, should come, one after the other, take 
off their caps, and show him their heads. One soldier actually had 
a fresh and bloody mark on his head ; and after a careful examina- 
tion it was soon found that it must have proceeded from a blow. 
Paszkiewich gave him a box on the ear, accused him of robbery, 
and peremptorily ordered him to name his accomplices : he men- 
tioned seven persons, among them an oflBLcer ; they were all im- 
mediately arrested, tried, and convicted. Paszkiewich ordered three 
physicians to be called without delay, and seven coflObas to be con- 

288 NOTES. 

structed in two hours, if they were not to be found ready-made at the 
undertakers. When everything was ready, the seven men alluded to, 
including the officers, were undressed, tied to their coffins, and, 
without any further ceremony flogged to death, in the presence of 
the Polish gentleman. When the physicians had pronounced them 
to be dead, they were all buried close to the place where they com- 
mitted the offence. From that time the spot is called " the grave of 
the seven robbers " (^rob sied miu rozboynikow). This terrible example 
struck terror into the hearts of the soldiers ; and stopped the further 
commission of robbery. The soldiers alluded to, were certainly 
deserving of exemplary punishment, but the manner of its infliction 
was not in accordance with the customs of civilized Europe. I 
mention this -anecdote, the details of which I give on the authority 
of an eye witness to the circumstance, as it bears the peculiar stamp 
of the Russian rule. Field-marshal Paszkiewich, Prince of Warsaw, 
seems to be superior in military capacity to Prince Worontzof, but 
the latter, it is said, is more liked at the Russian court. I noticed 
at Warsaw, to my fellow-officers in the Polish guard, in 1828, the 
military talents of the former. 

Page 199. (e). — Ufia ; a town of that name exists near White- 
haven, in Cumberland, in a very bleak and deserted neighbourhood, 
the most isolated perhaps in England ; where the communication, on 
account of the extended moors, steep hills, deep ravines, bad roads, 
and snow storms, in winter especially, is difficult. The surrounding 
scenery of Uffa is grand, romantic, and beautiful. Not unfrequently 
eagles are to be seen on the top of Blackcombe. 

Page 226. (a). — The word Russian must be distinguished from 
Muscovite ; the epithet here does not apply to any part of Muscovy 
or Russia, simply so called. Black Russia, White Russia, and Red 
Russia, belonged, from time immemorial, to the kingdom of Poland. 
The country round Vitebek Polotzk and Mohilev, on the banks of the 
Dnieper, of the higher banks of Dzvina, at the present time incorpo- 
rated, in a great measure, with the governments of Minsk, was called, 
and is still called White Russsia, Biala Rus\ on account of the nume- 
rous white hares that are met with therein, as also on account of the 
dresses of the same colour worn by the peasants. It is one of the 
poorest countries in Europe. The country between the Dnieper and 
the Prypetz, forming the ancient circle of Novogrodek, at the pre- 

NOTES. 289 

sent time incorporated with the government of Grodno, was formerly, 
and is still denominated Black Russia, Czama Rus\ The southern 
part of the ancient palatinate of Lublin, the country round Chelm, a 
portion of Volhynia, and, above all, the circle of Lutzk, the country 
round Przeraysl and Halicz, were formerly called Red Russia, Czer- 
vona Bus\ White and Black Russia, at the dismemberment of Poland, 
came imder the power of the Russians. With respect to Red Russia, 
the soil of which is extremely fertile, and which was very extensive, 
tlds was not assigned to Russia ; it was only the extreme north of 
this province that was annexed to the Government of Volhynia. The 
territory, in the environs of Lublin and Chelm, belonged lately to the 
kingdom of Poland, which was suppressed after the war in 1831. All 
the rest was placed under the dominion of Austria, together with the 
capital of Red Russia Leopol, in Polish Lvov ; in German Lemberg, 
now the capital of GaUicia, that is, of all the Austrian portion of Po- 
land. This town was not only the ancient capital of Red Russia, but 
of all the Russic territories. These Russic territories (we venture 
upon the use of this epithet for the sake of distinction) comprehended 
nearly a third part of the kingdom, embracing the whole extent of 
the south of Poland, that is, of the Ukraine, Podolia, Volhynia, and 
Red Russia. This latter was ruled, in the thirteenth century, by a 
king, the only Russic king, Daniel, who invaded the country at the 
head of a Batar force, which committed dreadful devastation. Casi- 
mir the Great, Kazimierz Wielki, in the year 1346, incorporated Red 
Russia with Poland, and divided it into palatinates ; it formed a part 
of Poland for the space of 449 years, that is, till the final dismember- 
ment of the country. An individual dared to write in the " Britisli 
and Foreign Review," especially devoted to the Polish cause, that 
the provinces in question ought to belong to Russia ; this singular 
assertion can in no wise alter the truth, based as it is on historical 
facts, and absolutely incontrovertible. Peter the Great was the first 
who took the title of Emperor of all the Russias. This title is rather 
politic and imaginary than real, inasmuch as the last king of Po- 
land, Stanislaus Poniatowski — that effeminate puppet, better calcu- 
lated to figure in a tavern, than on the throne of a great nation — that 
vile tool of the Russian cabinet, who signed the dismemberment of 
his own kingdom, and quietly allowed the senators of the diet of 
Grodno to be carried away by force, an act of complaisance which, 
after his abdication, appeared to have gained for him a prompt pass- 
port into the other world — bore the title of King of Poland, Grand 


290 NOTES. 

Duke of Lithuania, Grand Russic Duke. It is to be regretted that 
there is no difference in English, as in Polish and French, between 
Ruski a,nd Bussyiki, Russien and i?Msse, Rus and Rosya, Rmsie and terres 
Russiennes, by which many historical errors would have been avoided. 
We have presumed to use the epithet Russic to mark a distinction so 
imperatively necessary ; since the denomination of the word Rus, the 
Poles understand and consider Red Russia, Volhynia, Podolia, and 
the Ukraine, on the right bank of the Dnieper, all the Russic terri- 
tories belonged to Little Poland, Malo Polska the most extended pro- 
vince of ancient Poland. 

Page 230. [Steppes.] The steppes of the Ukraine are for the most 
part covered with plants, from three to four feet high, called budziake 
(pronounced 6ooc?2:za^i). They are smooth from the end, and prickled on 
the top ; thus affording an excellent shelter for all kinds of game, wild 
animals and sometimes wolves. "Wood being very scarce, these reeds 
are used as fuel, especially in winter. To afford the reader some idea 
of the danger to which a traveller was not unfrequently, (in times past, 
and may yet be) exposed, at the inns, in the thinly peopled wilds of the 
south- eastern Ukraine, I may instance an appalHng circumstance that 
occurred during my stay in that province many years ago, as also an 
adventure which happened in those regions to my father (deceased 28 
years since), and in which his life was almost miraculously preserved. 

Twelve Greek merchants, having successfully sold their goods at 
Odessa, were returning to the town of Brody with large sums of 
money, and halted at an inn in the Steppes. One of them attended 
to the horses ; the remainder slept in the same room on the carpets, 
placed on hay, as the comfort of beds, known in Western Europe, is 
out of the question in these resting-places. 

Having partaken of refreshments, smoked their pipes, and drank 
some grog, the merchants, fatigued by the journey, and, confident in 
their number, scorning the necessary precautions, soon fell into a 
deep slumber. After midnight three men, with noiseless steps, en- 
tered the travellers' room. Two of them carried a narrow plank, 
prepared beforehand, and holding it at each end, in which some lead 
was put on purpose, placed it cautiously across the breasts of the 
unsuspecting travellers, pressing it down with all their might, while 
the third, with a double-edged, thick, and sharp-pointed knife, cut 
the eleven victims' throats with lightning speed. 

A mere accident, however, led to the detection of this atrocity. 
Shortly subsequent to its perpetration another traveller entered the 

NOTES. 291 

inn, and accosted one of the assassins. This fellow had appropriated 
to himself the valuable watch of one of his victims, which watch, by 
an ingenious contrivance, played several airs, after the fashion of a 
musical box. While the two were conversing the watch commenced 
playing. " Wliat is that ? " inquired the traveller. " It is only my 
watch," answered the villain, turning pale with conscious guilt. "It 
must be a very curious one; pray let me examine it," said the tra- 
veller. The man's hesitation at complying with this request, and his 
evasive replies to other interrogatories, naturally excited a suspicion 
that an article so imusual to one of his humble rank had not honestly 
come into his possession. Consequently the traveller lost no time in 
communicating the affair to the police. The premises were thereupon 
searched, and the result was the detection and arrest of the criminals. 
After a protracted trial, they were convicted, knouted, and executed. 

Now for my father's adventure. Shortly after the above transaction, 
he was travelling between Odessa and Kiow, and stopped at an inn, 
kept by a married couple of Ormians (^Ormianie), an eastern sect of 
mixed race, deserving separate description. Having held a commis- 
sion in the Polish legion, and having fought against Souvarof in Italy, 
under the command of the French general, Championet, my father, 
who had only two servants with him, was conscious of the danger 
attending such places ; therefore, after taking a complete survey of 
the premises, he gave the necessary orders to the servants to be on the 
watch, himself being well prepared for any emergency. The landlord 
pressed him to seek repose, but as there was something in the man's 
looks which by no means inspired confidence, my father resolved not 
to comply with his importunities. He was very submissive, and in 
answer to several questions, contradicted himself on the main points. 
He aflSrmed that he did not expect any other guests, and that no one 
then resided in the house except his wife, his daughter, a girl about 
fifteen years of age, and a male servant, notwithstanding that my 
father thought he occasionally heard a low whispering of strange 
voices ; but as, despite his most searching examination, he could not 
discover any one, he ascribed it only to the working of his imagination. 
The disappearance, however, of the coachman's dog, which could no- 
where be found, re-excited his suspicion. Being well provided with 
fire-arms, he placed a brace of loaded pistols on the table Why he 
remained at all was that the badness of the road, the want of provender 
for his tired horses, and the utter darkness of a November night pre- 
cluded a removal, at that late hour, from his anything but pleasant 

292 NOTES. 

quarters. He remarked that the hostess often cast her eyes on the 
pistols, and, bringing a cup of tea, she let fall the cup, as if by acci- 
dent on the locks. My father, greatly displeased, began to scold her, 
and in order to ascertain whether there were really more persons in 
the house than those mentioned by the landlord, he put fresh powder 
in the locks, and fired a pistol. At the report some traps were sud- 
denly opened, and several men, with flashing eyes and large knives in 
their hands, sprang up from beneath. My father, however, was pro- 
vided with two brace of pocket pistols, which he had kept concealed, 
and one of the domestics, with pistol in hand, came, conformably to 
the previous orders which he had received, to my father's assistance, 
while the other was guarding the carriage and horses. My father 
threatened to shoot the first who dared to approach, and the warning 
produced a salutary efiect. Soon, however, the welcome daylight 
afibrded him a fair opportunity for quitting this most suspicious 
house of entertainment. Although the whole affair was reported to 
the Russian police, and a Russian magistrate (sprawnik) examined the 
premises, it could not be satisfactorily proved that the landlord ac- 
tually designed to murder my father, but the latter had certainly no 
reason to doubt the man's guilty intention in that respect. My mother 
was also once in great danger, while travelling in the Ukraine mider 
different circumstances. But a large volume would be filled were I to 
detail the numerous similar circumstances, of unquestionable authen- 
ticity, that have come to my knowledge — not alone intended murders 
but actual assassinations, as also attacks not always successful. Ge- 
nerally speaking, such crimes are committed on by-roads, on tra- 
vellers not sufficiently on their guard. The offenders are not so 
easily to be caught, it not unfrequently happening that the Russian 
police magistrates, who are badly paid, are indirectly participators in 
the robbers' plunder. The vast extent of the country forms also 
another obstacle to the speedy capture of the offenders. The robbers 
also have their faithful spies abroad, who guide them how to act, even 
in large towns. The whole country of the Steppes, from the Ukraine 
to the Tartar boundary, is not safe. It is thinly settled, indeed, from 
the difficult access to water in dry seasons. The following precautions 
may be useful in such places : to examine carefully the premises ; to 
have a dog and fire-arms ; to be always on the qui vive; not to take 
any liquid from the landlord, and, by sounding with a hammer or 
other means, to ascertain whether there is any trap or concealed 
entrance into the room. The journey in these wilds, notwithstanding 

NOTES. 293 

all its difficulty, presents, especiaUy in agreeable company, far more 
charms and attraction than the common and prosaic journey in 
Western Europe. Mr. Cortazi, member of the Polish Association, 
who was for some years resident in the Ukraine, and is now in Lon- 
don, can decide as to the correctness of my observations. 

Page 232. (6). — As he entered in triumph he struck with his sword 
the gilded gate of the city, and made a mark upon the gate as well as 
upon his sword, which was called Szezerbiec (pronounced Schtchar- 
biatz) on account of the mark. The kings of Poland were girded 
with this sword during the ceremony of their coronation. 

Page 255. (c).— Speaking of Ukrainian ladies, I take this opportu^ 
nity of describing other shades of provincial PoUsh beauties, whose fac- 
simile I have seen among the fair daughters of Great Britain. Gene- 
rally speaking, Polish ladies do not resemble either French, or German, 
or English ladies, though, by their manners, complexion, and charac- 
ters, they form a curious mixture of them, partaking something of the 
eastern ladies. Poland is also such a large country, that between North 
Polish ladies and South Polish ladies there may be a slight difference 

in features. The Marchioness of M (the lady of the gallant 

Colonel, Marquis of M ) aide-de-camp to Prince Louis Napo- 
leon, has somethingJPolish in her manners and features, and can be easily 
taken for a Gallician lady (Gallicia is in Austrian Poland.) Mrs. 

H , the second wife of the banker of that name, at Skipton, Mrs* 

Richard D , at Knaresborough, and one of the Misses D , 

from Red How, in the Lake district, present living specimens of 
Polish ladies, of purely Polish race, of midland Poland. Mrs. Henry 
G , of Moorland, Lancashire, the wife of a member of Par- 
liament, can be taken as a specimen of a Polish lady, a native of the 
grand duchy of Posen in Prussian Poland. Mrs. M. T re- 
siding in the secluded wilds of the south-eastern borders, is a living 
specimen of a Mazovian lady. Indeed these ladies are equally distin- 
guished for their personal graces, their fascinating manners, their 
varied accomplishments, and their estimable qualities. 

Speaking so much about Ukrainian ladies, I consider it as a pleasing 
duty to mention the name of one of the shining stars among them, 
Countess Delfina Potocka (pronounced Pototska), whose talents, know- 
ledge, eloquence, various accomplishments, united with high birth, 
wealth, noble feelings, fascinating manners, and virtues, are fully 
worthy to be described. Prom Poland to the banks of the Rhine, from 
♦ he foaming cataracts of the Dnieper to the soft sky of Italy, power- 

294 NOTES. 

ful princes bow to her, court her smile and approbation, and would 
be glad to crouch at her feet. Polish grandees and poets paint her in 
their poetry, and retain for her, after their marriage, a platonic 
attachment founded on esteem, respect, and friendship. When she 
sings, and when her fair fingers touch the piano, or slightly teaze and 
caress the grateful strings of the harp, she pours streams of delight 
into the human soul: not only men but animals are moved, and even 
the sorrowful sister of the night, the silent protector of lovers, mourn- 
ful and solitary, longing for ages in vain for a sweet companion, 
slightly advances from the tops of time-honoured oaks, looks in at her 
window, and begs for a kiss — Bobr..»a Zapomniana Sigis. 

Page 260. (e.) — It may not be amiss to inform the reader that not 
only young Potocki (Palatine's son) mentioned in Malczewskis 
mournful poem " Maria," was unfortunate (the father having ordered 
the son's beautifid wife to be murdered during the honeymoon, under 
circumstances of peculiar atrocity) but Malczewski himself. The 
latter was a yoimg man of ancient family settled in the Ukraine. 
Possessing an ardent soul, and having received a superior education, 
he left his home, visited the holy land, reached the top of Mont Blanc, 
and travelled through all Europe. After spending the greatest portion 
of his moderate fortune during his wanderings abroad, he suddenly 
felt a taste for retirement, and stayed for some time at the seat of his 
schoolfellow (to whom he was very much attached), in a secluded 
part of Volhynia, not far from the town of Wlodzimirz ; the latter 
married a lady who was induced by family connexions to accept 
him for a husband ; and scarcely had Malczewski been introduced 
to her, than he fell suddenly a victim of her charms. Admitted to 
her intimacy, he had the opportunity of displaying his knowledge 
and eloquence, which his friend, a good and homely kind of man, 
did not possess. As, however, the latter received him with open 
arms, and never gave him any offence, and as in Poland, where great 
sociability exists, the sacred laWs of hospitality are always respected, 
he never abused his friend's confidence, nor betrayed his secret to any 
one. The temptation, however, of seeing the beloved object every 
day increased the difficulties of mastering that passion ; he became 
restless, whimsical, shunned her sight, wandered in the night, often 
spent the whole day on the neighbouring lake, yet always patted 
and caressed the children in the house, who became fond of him. 
Once he was taken for a robber, another time for a madman. The 
lady complained to her husband that she never gave any offence to 


lis friend, and yet that friend's manners were so distant towards her, 
that it led her to tliink she had somehow offended him. Malczewski, 
however, tormented by temptation, suddenly formed the wise resolu- 
tion to leave his friend's house, but before leaving it he wished to take 
a secret farewell of the object of his ardent affection. After waiting a 
long time in the night, he suddenly left his room, came imder the 
window of her bed-chamber, knelt, pronounced the cherished name, 
and wept like a child. A favoured maid, however, of the lady 
alluded to, induced by curiosity, watched him, and discovered his 
secret, and after his departure, apprised her mistress of everything 
connected with the subject. Though ladies keep their own secrets 
very well, yet they very seldom keep the secrets of others. This 
matter, under various shapes, soon became the principal topic of con- 
versation amongst the old maids of the whole neighbourhood, and 
Malczewski, whose health was much injured, careless about his 
business, wandering from place to place, without friends and relatives, 
was confined to his bed, and subjected to want and misery. Some of 
his enemies, jealous of his talents, had the imprudence to slander him 
in the presence of his favourite lady and her husband, who had nothing 
to reproach him with, and who seemed to listen too much to their 
tattle : this offended his wife, who, highly indignant at their in- 
justice, packed up her things, left a letter for her husband, and went 
directly in quest of Malczewski. She stepped into the room as he 
was just pronouncing her name ; he was very iU, and could not at 
first believe his own eyes. She, however, embraced him, and apprised 
him of her gratitude. She never left him any more, and he soon 
died in her arms. It is an indisputed fact, confirmed by a thousand 
ages, that we cannot command our affection, that true love is always 
felt at the first sight ; though its power can be modified or increased 
under adverse and favourable circumstances. It is also a sentiment, 
which is sometimes ungovernable, and gains the mastery despite all 
difficulties; combining moral weakness with sexual passion, it asserts 
that one common law governs all mankind, though natural disposition, 
education, and habits, make a wonderful difference between one man 
and another. Love is also always disinterested and generous ; it is a 
friend to youth, and an enemy to old age ; it seldom bears a long 
absence ; it requires also reciprocity, because though we may be occa- 
sionally partial for awhile to those who care not for us, yet on the 
whole, and for any length of time, we cannot love but those who 
love us. 

296 NOTES. 

It is also a great mistake to think that even friendship, which is 
based on esteem, is formed only with years ; particular circumstances, 
and our first impression of the man whom we choose for our friend, 
have a good deal to do with it. "We may live for half a century 
with a man, and even esteem him, yet we do not feel for that man the 
same friendship as for another whose countenance pleased us ; and, 
therefore, in love and friendship there is a mesmeric influence which 
guides us indirectly, is felt and cannot be described. For my part, I 
never could conquer my first impression of any one imder the most 
trying circumstances. 

The " Castle of Kaniof, by Goszczynski," is founded on the follow- 
ing fact, which happened during the time of the rebellion of Gonta. 
A powerful Polish grandee, Staroste, and governor of Kaniof, who was 
residing in that town on the banks of the Dnieper, had a favourite 
Cossack, known by his valour and strength, called Nebabo, who fell 
in love with a beautiful Ukrainian girl, Orlika, strongly attached to 
him, and courted at the same time by the governor, whose advances 
she rejected. The marriage, however, between the two lovers did not 
take place, though the day for the nuptial ceremony was settled. The 
governor of Kaniof, having been informed of the intended marriage, 
summoned the girl Orlika and her brother before him, and peremp- 
torily ordered the former either immediately to become his wife, or to 
be the eye witness of her brother's death on the gibbet for an imagi- 
nary crime. Orlika saved her brother, and married the governor. 
Nebabo, in despair, joined the bands of Gonta, and came with them 
at midnight to sack the castle, and to kill its inhabitants, but was 
prevented in his project by Schvatchka. Orlika, when the governor 
was sleeping on his splendid couch, cautiously took a sharp knife, 
and plunged it in the heart of her husband. When the gates of the 
castle were broken by the Haidamaques, and when they entered with 
lighted torches, Id quest of the governor, Orlika, out of her senses, 
in her night dress, and with a knife stained with warm blood in one 
hand, and a lamp in the other, with a sneering smile, talked of her 
vengeance, and killed herself. Soon afterwards, however, Nebabo 
was woimded, and died in the arms of another girl whom he had 
previously seduced. These two poems are translated, but the trans- 
lations are as inferior to the original as a candle to tlie sim. 

Page 269. (d.) — Alexander Ilowicki (pronounced Ilovitski), the 
present lloman Catholic clergyman at Home, with his brother Edward 
Ilowicki, had thirteen squadrons of cavalry, which was formed in a 

NOTES. 297 

fortnight in the Ukrakie, in the last Polish insurrection in 1831 ; 
they had vigorous men and excellent horses, but no officers to direct 
them. Alexander Ilowicki was one of my seconds in a duel which I 
fought, the 29th of September, 1833, with Count Vladislas Plater, at 
Paris. Edward Ilowicki, commonly called Marszalek (a title in Rus- 
sian Poland corresponding to the title of a high sheriff of the county 
in England) has a peculiar taste for mechanics, studied the art of 
artillery for several years in France, and had a practical knowledge 
of it, and indeed is one of the best artUlery marksmen I ever saw. 
He was for some time residing at Algiers, where he distinguished 
himself by his gallantry, and was decorated with the French order 
of legion d' honneur, while his hospitality, attachment to Poland, and 
cheerfulness of mind, made him a general favourite. There is also in 
the Polish emigration their namesake Nicholas Ilowicki a good lin- 
guist, and clever writer. 


As in my pamphlet on the Polish aristocracy, published in 1842, 
I did sufficient justice to the principal Polish families, but committed 
some errors respecting the origin of my own family, I promised 
a person acquainted with my relatives to correct such errors in 
any new work that I might subsequently publish. I think it proper 
to fulfil my promise now in a note ; and to describe faithfully, not 
only the origin of Corvin (Korwin in Polish) Ka-asinski's family 
according to the most authentic information which I have since 
gleaned from several authors ; but also to mention all those who 
belong to it, to_ name the seats of which they are the owners, and to 
describe more or less, their features and character, according to 
my disinterested observation, though I know very well that it may 
expose me to annoyances. 

The first ancestor of Korwin Slepovron Krasinski's family was a 
Roman knight, who, called out by a foreign chief of noted size, strength, 
and bravery to fight a deadly duel with him, slew him, and took a 
golden ring from his finger in the presence of both armies. As during 
the fight a raven was seen near him, he was called from that time 
CorAin (Korwin), which means raven (Kruk), and which name he 
transmitted to his descendants. He died at the age of a himdred years. 
From Italy that family went to Hungary. Valerius Messalus Cor- 
vinus conquered that province for the Romans in the reign of 


Tiberius Caesar. There are still in Dalmatia and Raguza some 
splendid buildings, public documents, and historical reminiscences 
associated with that family. 

The mother of Holy Szczepan, king of Hungary, was a Corvin. 
To that family also belonged the celebrated Hungarian warrior, John 
Huniad Corvin, whose son Mathias was elected to the throne of 
Hungary. For political reasons the latter's natural son emigrated to 
Poland, and settling among his relatives there, became the progenitor 
of the youngest branch of the Krasinski family ; while at the same 
time, another Krasinski went from Poland to the court of King 
Mathias, who acknowledged him as his relative, and satisfied 
with his courage and ability, liberally rewarded him for his 
services, and then allowed him to return to his country. These 
two branches were much mixed by intermarriages, and the young- 
est branch is extinct. The Hungarian Korwins are also, I have 
heard, in all probability extinct, though many years ago they 
claimed their share of succession in Poland. There was a time 
when some Hungarian Korwins were staying among the Polish 
Korwins, and some Polish Korwins were staying among the Hunga- 
rian Korwins. From Hungary that family passed to Poland, and 
settled in the duchy of Mazovia, which, before its annexation to the 
kingdom of Poland, in the reign of Sigismundus I., in 1537, was an 
independent principality. 

Antecedent to the year 1224, Conrad, the old Duke of Mazovia 
(Konrad Stary), at the request of Vavrzenta Corvin (Wawrzeta 
Korwin), who first removed from Hungary to Poland, permitted the 
latter to add to his original surname the title of his estate, Slepovron, 
which means a crow. The above Wawrzeta Korwin married Dorothy 
Pobozanka, a Polish heiress, who to wealth and beauty joined great 
amiability of character. Her husband had a daughter to whom he 
was attached, and whose personal attraction was daily increasing ; his 
lady, however (Pobozanka), instead of being jealous of her, paid so 
much attention to her, and overwhelmed her with so much kindness 
that she gained her friendship for life ; while Wawrzeta Korwin, 
wishing to give a mark of his particular regard to his wife, adopted 
legally her coat of arms, and put them under his own, which he 
transmitted to his descendants : a case scarcely ever known in 
Poland. Under the raven with a golden ring in its beak, he placed a 
silver horseshoe in a blue field, which was originally red, on account 
of the blood spilt by his ancestor's vanquished antagonist. He left 

NOTES. 299 

two sons, and divided among them his estates ; the law of primo- 
geniture never having prevailed in Poland. The oldest who took 
his mother's estate, retained the blue field in his coat of arms ; the 
youngest reverted to the red field. In some documents and title 
deeds it is half red and half blue, or entirely red or blue, though the 
armorial bearings are the same. 

Slavomir Korwin was the first who, from the estate called Krasne, 
transmitted him by his father, took the name of Slawomir Korwin 
Slepowron Krasinski, in 1337. His descendant, Stanislas Krasinski, 
palatine of Plock (pronounced Plotsk), who visited Africa and travelled 
over all Europe, left, by two wives, five daughters and ten sons. He 
was raised to the dignity of a foreign coimt, which title was inherited 
by his progeny (Vide Konstytucye Xwa Mazovieckiego). 

Among all the above mentioned descendants of Korwin Krasinski's 
family, none was more noted for his knowledge and influence than 
Francis, the bishop of Cracow, who was several times sent as an 
ambassador from the Polish clergy to the pope, Paul IV., and by 
whose exertions the ultimate imion of the Grand Duchy of Litvania 
with Poland was accomplished in 1569, in the reign of Sigismundus 
Augustus. He was the latter king's confessor, and was always 
opposed to religious persecutions, in fasliion in his time. 

After him, setting aside some good generals, none was equal in 
wisdom, craft, and knowledge to Coimt Adam I^j-asinski, the bishop 
of Kamienietz, who signed the confederation of Bar, the 29 th of 
February, 1768. 

There are at present four branches of Krasinski's family, and three 
generations. The head of the first branch, and the senior in age, 
is General Count Vincent Korwin Krasinski, who by his late wife. 
Princess Radzivell, has an only child, a son, Sigismond, married some 
years ago to Elizabeth Countess Branitska, by whom he has two 
yoimg boys. 

The general alluded to, performed extraordinary feats of valour 
under Napoleon, especially at Samossiera in the month of November, 
1808, in Spain, where three squadrons of Polish lancers under his 
command stormed, up hill, a pass half a mile in length^nd twenty- 
five yards in breadth, defended at the top by fifteen pieces of heavy 
cannon, and eleven thousand of Spanish regular infantry, under the 
order of General St. Juan. In spite, however, of all these formidable 
defences, and the two hills swarming with sharpshooters ; in spite of 
the grape shot of the cannon, his intrepid band, composed of chosen 

300 NOTES. 

men and chosen horses, reached the top, took all the cannons, hroke 
all the squares, routed the Spaniards and cleared the road for Napo-» 
Icon's army to Madrid. 

In aU the French, and even British military works, this celebrated 
charge is mentioned, and is undoubtedly considered as one of the 
most extraordinary in this century. It, however, succeeded, not only 
by the brilliant and indomitable valour of the Polish lancers and 
their gallant commander ; but also by some favourable circumstances 
attending it. Napoleon was so much surprised at the complete suc- 
cess of the charge of Samossiera that he said : " Now, dear Krasinski, 
I believe in wonders." "It would be a wonder, sire," rejoined the 
latter, " if there was one single soldier under my command, who 
should hesitate an instant to sacrifice the last drop of his blood for your 
majesty's glory." This bon mof extremely pleased Napoleon, and was 
followed by many others, which, always delivered under proper 
circumstances, brought him substantial favours. Napoleon called 
him the Polish Alcibiades ; the PoHsh Alcibiades having expensive 
habits was often in want. Once Napoleon met him walking dis- 
pirited in the streets of Paris. " You have debts, Krasinski," said the 
emperor. "Yes, sire, I have ;" "Your debts are mine;" and thrice 
they were paid (30,000/,) Once Napoleon ordered Duroc to give to his 
favourite Polish aide-de-camp £6,000. Duroc looked cross. " Give to 
Krasinski £3,000 more," and they were given, and when the latter said, 
" The interest is worthy of your majesty," a handsome interest of 
that sum, much larger than that which any banker would require for 
it, was added to the additional gift, which altogether amounted to 
100,000/. The general alluded to served in all the wars from 1806 
till 1814, under Napoleon, and his regiment of lancers became the 
terror of the enemy, as they broke and routed every cavalry and 
infantry, which they ever attacked, and they never were beaten. To 
this time even at Bordeaux, there are numerous ballads and songs in 
their favour. They formed the guard of the French emperor, under 
the name of chevaux legers ; they did wonders at Wagram, and in 1813. 

It is impossible to describe the enthusiastic cheers with which the 
remainder of the gallant Polish bands, under the command of the 
General alluded to were received at Posen in 1814. Men, women, and 
children hailed them weeping. The uniform of the lancers was blue, 
trimmed with crimson, and double-breasted (not according to 
the Enghsh fashion), trimmed witli rich embroidered gold. They 
wore a splendid crimson lancer's cap, on which there was a golden 

NOTES. 301 

sun and a fine white ostrich feather. This uniform, with golden 
epaulets, splendid horses, chosen men, coloured pennants streaming 
from the top of the lances, produced in the sunshine an efiect impos- 
sible to describe. At the sight of these warriors, preceded by the fame 
of the victories of Samossiera, Vagram, Reichenbach, and others, (most 
of them being decorated with military orders) the heroes of a 
hundred battles, commanded recently by the most skilful captain of 
the age, to whom they were faithful when every thing left him, pass- 
ing slowly in military array, and returning to their country without 
ever having been fairly vanquished, a sort of religious veneration 
filled the heart. One would have thought that the sacred soil of a 
country that gave birth to such soldiers, could not be stained by a 
foreign foot, or oppressed. 

When the ringing of bells, the clash of arms, the roar of cannons, 
and repeated huzzas ceased, when twenty-four beautiful maidens, 
dressed in white, had thrown their flowers on the lancers, and silence 
was restored, the general, one of the handsomest men of his age — 
thirty-three at that time — dazzling the eyes by the diamonds of his 
numerous decorations, sitting on a splendid steed worthy of a Maho- 
met or a Tamerlane, advanced some steps towards the ladies, stopped, 
bowed gracefully to them, and, in a clear and distinct voice, delivered 
a speech during which, without any exaggeration, he put Cicero fairly 
in his pocket, and melted half-a-dozen Demosthenes on his lips. After 
repeated huzzas, when the officers left their horses, he was obliged to 
submit his manly cheeks to the repeated kisses of the maidens. 
The silky hair of one of them got entangled seriously to his golden 
epaulets for more than a minute, to the jealous surprise of some dow- 
agers. The same evening a ball was given, and as my late father 
was a schoolfellow of the general's, and travelled with me in haste, 
we arrived the same day at Posen. I was at that time nine years 
old. After embracing me he introduced me as his relative at the ball, 
and delivered me to the care of the Posen ladies. As I had not slept 
for two nights, I soon fell into a deep slumber between two Posen 
beauties. The sound of music awakened me ; I danced the polo- 
naise with the lady, and partook of some ice. So strong are my 
early impressions, that though this happened to me above thirty years 
ago, I perfectly remember her features, which greatly resembled those 
of the likeness of the northern Sappho at Ulverstone. 

Some weeks afterwards I marched, between Lieut. Gnatowski and 
Stakieuicz, with the Polish army into the late kingdom of Poland, and 

802 NOTES. 

entered Warsaw with the staff of the general, on a small black horse 
of remarkable beauty. My first recollections were thus associated 
with a military life. I never could forget the hospitality and kind- 
ness shown me by the inhabitants of Posen. 

General Count Vincent Korwin Krasinski Senalor Palatin, is one of 
the richest men in Poland, and has most of the Polish, French, and Rus- 
sian decorations. His knowledge, gallantry, and flowing eloquence, his 
celebrated repartees, his singular adventures and liberality, also made 
him the pet of all the ladies, from queens to peasant girls, and the 
favourite of all the sovereigns to whom he was introduced. He was 
successively the aide-decamp and the favourite of Napoleon (who 
made him lieutenant-general), to whom he was faithful as a dog to 
its master, even to the last when every thing left him. After bringing 
the remainder of the Polish army in 1814, from France to Poland ; 
he became aide-de-camp of the Emperor Alexander and Nicholas, as 
kings of Poland, and held a superior command in the late Polish 
army. He served them faithfully. Some of his adventures are so 
singular, that they are worthy to be mentioned. During his youth 
he had a mistress, called Tekla, who presented him a first-born 
son. At this happy news, two batteries of small cannon (vivatove 
harmaty), fired one hundred shots ; merry peals were ringing in all 
directions, there was a regular levee at his palace ; eloquent speeches 
were delivered, five-hundred bottles of champagne were beheaded, 
thousands of pounds in money and clothing were distributed to the 
poor, offences of the peasants on his estates were forgiven, fifteen 
thousand pounds were settled on the mother and child, a wine 
merchant, unexpectedly patronised, made his fortune and married 
his daughter well, the old maids unbridled their tongues for a fortnight, 
six couples of young orphans were united and provided for, and even 
the faithful companions of man, dogs and horses (according to the 
letter of my late uncle, Hilary), had their share of rejoicings. At this 
time Warsaw was under Prussian domination, and the Prussian police 
seeing the whole fashion of the town in motion, and hearing constant 
firings and the ringing of bells, became alarmed, and thought it was 
an insurrection ; but the alarm soon subsided. At any rate, no 
human being ever came into this world under more noisy and favour- 
able circumstances for the prosperity of his fellow-creatures, than the 
lateral descendant of the noble house of Korwin, but unfortunately, 
he died soon, and his inconsolate and beautiful mother followed him to 
the grave, to the general's regret. Having heard that it is in fashion 


not to attach too much importance to money, he lost at cards 
^25,000 in one evening. On another occasion he engaged a cab 
for the whole day ; the next day a cabman called early and re- 
quested to speak with him ; he was admitted, and handed to the 
general (at that time a civUian), a small parcel containing in 
mixed bank notes £500 ; the general counted them, and saw that 
all was right ; thanked the cabman, marked his number, gave 
him a glass of wine and shook hands with him ; when he was 
close to the door, he re-called him, and handed him £500 as 
a reward for his honesty, which made his fortune for life. Similar 
actions on a smaller, and even on a larger scale, were repeated. At 
another time, his friend being well aware of the general's taste for 
naked feet, induced his wife to give a splendid ball, at which all the 
female portion of her chosen guests were dressed a Vantique, and 
obliged to disclose the top of their fair, snowy, and delicate feet to the 
searching gaze of men, who plunging their eyes in them, should have 
liked to discover, if possible, on those feet the same charms which 
a happy bridegroom discovers on the cheeks of his blooming bride, 
when after a kiss, he dares to hint to her in a whisper the prospects of 
the pleasures concealed for them under the cloke of night, whose very 
name make her blush and tremble at the same time. The general, 
whose passion for the naked feet is too well known, was so delighted 
with it, that he never could forget it, and was obliged to describe it to 
the late Queen Hortense and Napoleon. No man in the world was 
ever cherished more by his servants, his tenantry, his soldiers, and 
his officers. To the latter he was a sort of brother. To his dinners, 
which I often attended, he invited one day the country squires, another 
day military men, the third his equals and superiors, and every Friday, 
scientific men, poets and writers. The latter party always included 
a paltry writer named Marcin . . . ski, whose poetry and person ex- 
cited general hilarity and undoubtedly promoted digestion ; for 
which laudable services he was rewarded by a situation of £200 
per annum. The subjoined facts will best prove the devotedness and 
affection which distinguished the servants and officers of the general. 
During the time of Napoleon a fierce quarrel broke out, close to the 
general's palace at Warsaw, between the Saxon and Bavarian troops. 
Mutually exasperated, they fought furiously among themselves. 
Several had already fallen on either side, when, anxious to stop the 
further effusion of blood, the general interposed between the com- 
batants ; but no sooner had he done so, than the infuriated soldiers 

304 NOTES. 

turned their weapons upon the general's person, who would undoubt- 
edly have perished, had not Zdanovitch, by chance beholding the 
extreme peril of his beloved general, come, at the most critical 
moment, to his assistance, and presented his naked hands as a shield 
against the swords and bayonets so ferociously thrust at the general. 
Their assailants every moment increasing in number, the danger be- 
came yet more imminent. Thereupon Zdanovitch exclaimed, " Fly at 
once, dear general, or you are lost." "But," said Krasinski, "what 
will become of you ? " "I shall be happy to die for you," replied the 
noble-minded Zdanovitch. With some difficulty the general escaped, 
and having procured aid, returned to the scene of his adventure. 
The devoted gallant Zdanovitch was found stretched senseless on the 
ground, literally bathed in the gore which had gushed from his 
numerous wounds. However, he ultimately recovered, and was not 
forsaken by the grateful general. On another occasion, during the 
war of 1813, the same general accompanied only by his lieutenant 
Vonsovitch, was surprised and surrounded by a detachment of the 
enemy's dragoons. Having fought until their swords were broken, 
Vonsovitch then flung himself between the general and his opponents, 
receiving on his own person the blows aimed at the former, until he 
was actually covered with wounds, thus preserving Krasinski's life at 
the hazard of his own. Vonsovitch also survived the effect of the 
dangerous injuries thus sustained by him, and was not forgotten, in 
having an estate presented to him, by the general. I am personally 
acquainted with these two noble defenders of his life, and believe them 
yet in existence. Surely the man who could thus attach other men 
to himself, could not have been destitute of good qualities. 

The general was not engaged in the Polish insurrection of 1831, 
but he did not fight against his countrymen ; and after that un- 
happy war did much good to them, even to some who were known 
to be his enemies. Here is a proof of his kindly disposition and 
his influence in this respect. A short time back, the Kussian 
governor of Kamienietz Podolski having a spite against a Polish 
gentleman, named Ratsiborowski, endeavoured to extort £2,520 from 
him, by accusing him with being connected with an imaginary plot, 
and also carrying on treasonable correspondence with the Countess 
Cordule Fredro, of Austrian Poland, a kind, affable lady (Countess 
Krasinska's de domo), who never interferes in politics, and has a 
splendid seat near the Carpathian mountains, close to the corner of 
tlie Austrian, Russian, and Turkish boundaries. To prove the guilt 

NOTES. 305 

of the unhappy Ratsiborowski and other Poles, the rascally governor 
concocted, and produced, several letters and suitable answers, in sym- 
pathetic ink. The Russian authorities required the iVustrian govern- 
ment to deliver up the Countess, but this was refused, though some 
of her tenants were arrested, and confronted (at Kiof), with other vic- 
tims of the governors infernal artifice. They would, as a matter of 
course, have been condemned and exiled to Siberia, but luckily for them 
General Count Krasinski arrived at Kiof, on his way to his estates. 
Hearing that a Russian subaltern (an agent of the governor) was 
hovering previously about the Coimtess Fredro's estate, for the pur- 
pose of collecting evidence respecting her correspondence, and so 
forth, the general suspected some trick. He therefore lost no time in 
communicating his suspicions to Count Bekendorf (the head of the 
Russian police.) The result of the general's interposition was that 
the subaltern was placed under arrest, and the first night of his in- 
carceration hung himself — the letters were satisfactorily shown to be 
forgeries— the iniquitous governor was dismissed— and his intended 
victims liberated. 

General Count Krasinski is about sixty-eight years of age. He is of 
middle size, though stoutly built, and his features are marked by two 
large scars, one extending across his face, the other on his fore- 
head ; he is a celebrated pistol shot, and could, formerly, so well 
manage the lance, that surrounded at the battle of Wagram, in 1809, 
by several Austrians, he defended himself with it several minutes, 
killing two and disabling some of them without himself sustaining any 
injury. He dedicated to Napoleon a well-written pamphlet on the 
advantages of the lancers, and the use of the lance, for which he 
received a brace of pistols and a double-barrel gim from Napoleon 
valued at £3,000. 

On another occasion, in the Russian campaign in 1812, he was 
ordered to make a reconnoissance with a small party of soldiers : he 
met three battalions of Russian infantry, advanced, contrary to the 
advice of his friends, within gun-shot of the Russians, alone, and, 
wishing courageously to fulfil his duty, quietly inspected their lines. 
The Russians fired a volley at him, and missed him ; he bowed to 
them, and continued to observe them ; they twice reloaded their guns 
and fired ; twice more he bowed, and departed unhurt. A Colonel of 
the Cossacks, however, having an excellent horse, dashed so furiously 
at the general, that had not one of the Polish lancers parried the 
thrust of the Cossack, he would have in all probability killed the 


306 NOTES. 

former. The Colonel was taken prisoner, and cried like a woman when 
obliged to part with his horse ; he was kindly treated by the general 
and soon exchanged, and before leaving the Polish lancers a purse of 
gold was given to him. The Cossack swore never again to fire at a 
Pole, and was lost sight of. 

In 1814, in France, the Cossacks were constantly at the heels of the 
French, and the general made a bet with Lefevre Denouette, that in 
the first encounter with the Cossacks he would not use his sword ; he 
gained the bet, and narrowly escaped being shot or taken prisoner. 
Most fortunately the same Cossack colonel recognised him, came to 
his assistance, gave him a glass of brandy, did not allow any one to 
fire at him, called hira his friend, and exchanged almost every day 
some friendly words with him. This anecdote, which the general 
often mentioned, was corroborated by a Frenchman, at Chantilly, who 
was the eye-witness of it. 

The general's mother (sister of the celebrated Count Czacki, the most 
learned man in Poland) amassed immense wealth, and was residing 
in Podolia. Some of her relatives watched this wealth like a hawk 
watches a partridge, and so much slandered him, that she became 
visibly cold to her son, and inclined to make a will in favour of his 
enemies. He was apprised of the trap, and having heard that the 
Countess R was the undoubted favourite of his mother, and re- 
sided with her, he came on a visit to his mother for three weeks, and 
paid so much attention to the lady alluded to, that she prevailed on his 
mother to live with him, and to give him all the cash she had, with 
slight restriction. After this she retired, it is said, to a convent ; it 
was the last of his celebrated conquests, accomplished at the age of 

To give an idea of his energetic eloquence, and bewitching man • 
ners it is worthy to be mentioned, that Napoleon called him one 
of the bravest, the most faithful, and the most dangerous of his 
courtiers. The French marshals gave him a splendid sword as a 
token of their regard for his fidelity to Napoleon. He is stiU alive, 
and in favour at the Russian court. His discernment is so great that 
he can read, as it were, the character of a man at twenty-five yards' 
distance. He is now busy, it is said, in writing his memoirs, and cer- 
tainly they will be well written and extremely interesting. 

His only son, Sigismond, received an excellent education, and has 
written some beautiful novels and poems : but some passages are so 
mystic and at the same time lofty, that it is no easy matter for 

NOTES. 307 

common minds to comprehend their meaning without explanation. 
Many poems attributed to him are not his. He possesses a liberal 
mind, stocked with extensive information. To noble sentiments and 
sterling qualities he unites some minor faults ; but his conversational 
powers and pleasing manners enable him to shine in polite society, 
although he possesses neither the manly beauty nor the dashing elo- 
quence of his father. He is fond of the company of scientific men ; 
loves and dreads his father ; is a faithful friend and forgiving enemy. 
Though slightly whimsical, he charms every one by his obliging dis- 
position, but wUl never take the lead in any thing. He, however, 
inherited from his father a peculiar tact in gently befooling others. 
Indeed, practical joking seems almost necessary to his existence, and 
if he cannot find somebody in high society to endure his jests, he 
will be satisfied with any man, on whom he may safely indulge such 
propensities. His jests, however, are rather piquant than offensive. 
He is a great sportsman. His wife, an amiable, rich, and handsome 
Ukrainian lady, who gave him two children, must have greatly 
contributed to his comfort and happiness. He is not far from 
forty, and is smaller and thinner than his father. He did not take 
any part in the last war with Russia, in 1831. His father's estates 
are Dunaiowce ; lackovce, in Podolia ; Opinogora, in the late king- 
dom of Poland ; a splendid seat, Knyszyn ; Slivna, Bembnovka, and 
others, in Russian Poland ; he has a fine palace at Warsaw. One of 
Count Sigismond's estates is Luboml, and others belonging to his wife. 
It is the richest branch of the family. 

The head of the second branch (Gallician) of Krasinski's family, 
is Count Peter Krasinski, with his two brothers, Leopold and Augustus. 
Count Peter was colonel in the previously mentioned celebrated regi- 
ment of Polish lancers, and made several campaigns under Napoleon, 
winning three decorations ; he married the late Countess Pawlikowska, 
has no children, likes dashing life, is stout, bald, under the middle size, 
above sixty-one, and resides on his fine seat of Rohatyn in Austrian 
Poland. He has all the airs of a great lord, and is an honourable man. 
His second brother Leopold is a man about sixty, thin, of middle size, 
and still a bachelor ; he has pleasing manners, but there is nothing 
Polish or Sclavonic in him. When his brother Peter was fighting 
under Napoleon, he voluntarily entered the Austrian military service, 
and fought against the French, but in the very first engagement 
he received a musket-ball through the shoulder, which obliged him to 
leave the Austrian ranks, and checked his martial ardour for life. 

308 IQOTES. 

This, however, brought him in such high favour at Vienna, that 
he was created chamberlain at the Austrian court, and he has always 
been treated by the Austrians with great regard. He is very clever, 
but so aristocratic in his predilections, that he would consider himself 
a criminal if his lips could pronoimce the name of a commoner. 
He always says, " I have seen Prince, Marquis, Count,* or Baron 
so and so ;" and as he is a rigid Catholic, he hears mass every day, 
often confesses, speaks frequently of religion and God, kneels for 
half an hour on rising in the morning and going to bed ; he may 
be, and probably is, very honest and very good, but he yet has 
an unfortunate countenance which seldom pleases. However, 
he is not answerable for his countenance. The general used to 
call him Fafenschtein, on account of his German predilections. He 
was in 1843 residing in England, and is acquainted with the Earl 
of Chesterfield. He has money in the funds and a small landed 
estate. His youngest brother Augustus, married the late Countess 
Jane Krasinska, the heiress of Krasne, the nest of Krasinski's family 
in the district of Plotsk, fifty-six English miles north of Warsaw. 
After his marriage he left Gallicia, and settled in the Russian kingdom 
of Poland. He is extremely clever, an inveterate jester, and owes his 
whole fortune principally to General Count Vincent Krasinski, 
with whom he has frequent misunderstandings ; their tongues meet 
each other, at times, like two razors, and they do not seem to be 
always on intimate terms, though several reconciliations have taken 
place, and the usual form of poUteness is still kept between them. They 
fully acknowledge, however, their mutual abilities. Whenever the 
general intended to jest too much, a la Frederick the Great, with 
Augustus, he met such cutting rebukes, and such a stout resistance, that 
like a skilful tactician, he observed only his adversary's movements, 
without hurting him. The latter is a great lawyer, and defies the 
best of them. His age is about fifty, he is strongly marked with small 
pox, and has an aquiline nose. He was in the war with Russia, in 1831, 
an aide-de-camp of the General-in-Chief, Skrzynecki, now in Belgium, 
and fought nobly at Ostrolenka, where he was wounded and decorated* 
An Ukrainian valet of General Count I^asinski called him "Raboy 
jMudry Panicz, tliat is, a crafty, spotted, young lord." This sobri- 
quet excited mucli mirth, and will remain with him for life ; he comes 
to the point in all questions, and laughs at the poetry of life. His 
estates are Krasne, Golow, Adamow ; the two latter are in Podlassia; 
he has a son thirteen years of age, and two sisters, one, Cordula, 

NOTES. 309 

"married to the late Count Fredro, and the other married to lab- 
lonowski. The former visited London recently. 

The head of the third branch is Count Stanislaus Krasinski, 
with his Wo brothers, Charles and Adam. He is now about 
thirty-seven years of age, six feet high, proportion ably stout, has 
dark hair, hazel eyes, and is a fine man ; he held a commission 
in the Polish army in the last war with Russia, in 1831 ; distinguished 
himself by his gallantry, charged boldly a large square of llussian 
infantry with a half squadron of cavalry, and received sixteen 
bayonet wounds ; a book put under his coat saved his life. He 
married after the war. Princess lablonowska, a lady of superior 
knowledge and amiable disposition, and has several daughters by her; 
they are very happy with each other. He has strong common 
sense, a good deal of tact (easily kept with wealth), and is a man of 
noted principles of honour, and a certain ability in managing his 
estates. His principal seats are Zegrze, near Warsaw, and Sterdynia, 
in Podlassia, in the Russian kingdom of Poland ; his wife brought him 
also some estates in the Polish Ukraine. His second brother, Charles, 
is inferior to him in point of bodily strength and manly qualities ; 
he married Countess Lubinska, and without speaking to her one single 
word, a year after his marriage, having heard of some fine paintings 
at Rome, suddenly left his wife and set out for Italy ; and when she 
with tears and lamentations inquired what had become of him, she found 
a letter on her table, in which he advised her not to distress her mind, 
and to do during his absence what she thought best for herself, 
because he should soon return, and he never ceased to like and esteem 
her ; he actually returned in a few months, and the only motive of his 
sudden departure was, it is said, a trial of his wife's attachment and 
his love of the fine arts. His youngest brother, Adam, is about 
twenty- six years of age, married Countess Mycielska, (a Gallician 
lady, of high birth and noble feelings) and resembles in many respects 
his eldest brother, Stanislaus. Their estates are Radzieiowitze, 
Krasnosielc, a palace at Warsaw, and a mansion at Cracow. 

They have two amiable sisters, one, Mandzia, married to Count 
Kazimir Lubinski, and the second, Paulina, married to Gorski. Their 
mother, the dowager Countess Joseph Krasinska, whose maiden name 
was Countess Emily Ossolinska, is still alive, and was remarkable, no 
less for her great beauty and fidelity to her husband, under the most 
trying circumstances, than for her cheerful spirit. 

The head of the fourth branch is the author, political emigrant 

310 NOTES. 

since 1831 ; he has two younger brothers, namely, Boleslaus, who 
divorced the wife of Colonel Breanski, an emigrant, specially cherished 
by Prince Czartoryski ; and Vincent, married to Miss Eustachia 
Swientoslawska. The former received an excellent education, and in- 
herited the principal part of the property of our uncle (Isldor), 
the late Polish minister for the war department. He resides at lanikof. 
The second, whose education was neglected, lives at Siemiennitze. 
Both are of quiet, easy dispositions, and are fond of country life, 
without being fond of shooting. The former was engaged in the 
last war, and the other not. The former has no children. The second 
is blessed with four of them. Our only sister, Adela, married to 
the late General Malecki, resides at Zbozenna. She speaks seven 
languages. She has a daughter. 

There are three gener.ations of Count Korwin Krasinski's family. The 
head of the first is the general alluded to ; and to the abovenamed 
generation, besides him, belong Peter, Leopold, and Augustus Krasinski. 

The author is head of the second generation, and it includes 
Stanislaus, Sigismundus, Boleslaus, Charles, Vincent, and Adam 
Krasinski. The youthful son of Augustus Krasinski is the head 
of the third generation, and it comprises the two sons of Sigis- 
mundus, the children of Stanislaus, and the children of the author's 
brother Vincent. All the abovenamed Korwin-Slepowron Krasinski, 
belonging to four branches and three generations of that family, are 
Roman Cathohcs, though by no means fanatics. They are each entitled 
Count in the registration of their birth, and their fathers paid some- 
thing for legalizing their title after the partition of Poland, but such 
title not being Polish, it was not held in much regard by them, and 
seldom mentioned, except on the address of a letter. They were gene- 
rally designated by their Christian and surnames. The late Emperor 
Napoleon, however, wishing to reward the feats of General Count Vin- 
cent Krasinski, and his unshaken fidelity to his imperial person, created 
him also a Count of the French empire; but that title (of which he is 
very proud, and which is acknoAvledged by the Emperor of Russia), 
is limited to the general himself, his son, and grandsons. It may be 
further remarked that the late Emperor Alexander, as king of Poland, 
not only confirmed the general's possession of the lands temporarily 
granted to him in Poland by Kapoleon, as an inheritance, but it is 
said, desired to confer on him the title of a prince, which honour the 
general, thinking that he had not the proper opportunity to deserve , 
begged his Imperial Majesty's permission to decline. 

NOTES. 311 

Besides the relationship of the Korwin-I^asinski family to two 
dynasties of the ancient kings of Hungary, it is allied to other regal 
families, in the following manner:— Countess Frances Krasinska mar- 
ried, at Warsaw, Nov. 4, 1 7 60, the Prince Royal of Poland, Charles Duke 
of Courland, son of Augustus III. King of Poland and Saxony. Their 
only daughter, the Princess Mary, born at Dresden, espoused, after 
the death of her parents. Prince Carignan of Savoy, whose descend- 
ants are closely connected with the reigning families of Lombardy 
and Sardinia. 

After the conquest of Moscow by the celebrated Polish chieftain 
Zulkiewski, who vanquished, dethroned, and took prisoner the czar 
Szuyski, in 1610, a new Russian dynasty (called Romanoff) was 
elected to the throne of Russia, in consequence of which, after the 
death of the captive czar Szuyski, in Poland, his relatives, fearing the 
persecution of the above-mentioned dynasty, left Russia, turned 
Roman Catholics, and established themselves in Poland. 

The author's grandmother, whose maiden name was Princess Anna 
Szuyska, and who married, firstly. Count Krasicki (pronounced Kra- 
sitski), and, secondly, John Orzeszko, and died twenty-five years ago, 
at Warsaw, was one of the last female descendants of that family. 
She was very proud of her noble descent, and used a crown (mitra) 
in her armorial bearings. Her mother was an Italian lady, connected 
with the powerful Sardinian family of Oreglio, and her grandmother 
was a native of England. Thus, north and south of Europe, Korwin 
Krasinski's family was, and still is, distantly related to sovereign 

Though the author's branch is now the least wealthy of the four 
abovenamed branches of Krasinski's family, it was originally the 
richest. Enormous wealth passed from the author's ancestor into 
Prince Lubomirski's family, and one Princess Lubomirska, having no 
children, purposed bequeathing part of her wealth to the descendants 
of the author's branch, (from whence it was derived), but she died very 
suddenly without a will, and was thus precluded from carrying into 
effect, her just and laudable intention, though it was proved by many 
persons that she mentioned it the very day of her demise. The author 
may be pardoned an expression of his hope that his Highness Prince 
Henry Lubomirski, who is not only an honourable man, but one of the 
most accomplished gentlemen in Poland, may so far prevail on hi s re- 
latives, that the author, who is the eldest of the family, and has not 
taken any share in the succession which was divided after the death 

312 NOTES. 

of his three uncles, among his younger brothers and his sister 
(already mentioned), shall not be utterly left without some honourable 
means of existence in England (where he will probably reside for life) 
merely because he fought for Poland. 

In the future edition of the " Polish Aristocracy " the author will 
probably mention more anecdotes of the Polish families, and may 
publish all the songs and poems on the celebrated regiment of Polish 
lancers commanded, during the time of Napoleon, by General Count 
Vincent Krasinski, who has been very kind to the author's parents, 
and even to the author himself before 1831 ; and though he may differ 
in politics with many, whoever knows the general must more or less 
like him. He is a sort of scion of the Krasinski family ; and though 
the author's paternal uncle (Isidor), who commanded the whole Polish 
infantry before the war of 1831, had frequent misunderstandings with 
the general alluded to, yet before his death in 1841, he appointed him a 
trustee of his lady. Her maiden name was Countess Barbara Kra- 
sicka, and she was half-sister to the author's late mother, and is still 
alive, but blind. 

All the abovenamed Krasinskis, with whom the author is personally 
acquainted, are liberal, brave, at times excitable, slightly proud and 
whimsical, extremely hospitable, rather fond of the fair sex and of jesting. 
They prefer a monarchy to a republic. They possess strong perceptive 
powers, are grateful for the slightest mark of kindness, and yet often 
difficult to please. The general has recently established an entail in 
the family, reversable to other branches. 

From the above description of Korwin Krasinski's family it will be 
perceived that it is not inferior to any, not only in Poland, but in 
Europe. Pew even sovereign houses can trace their ancestors to the 

Count Stanislaus Krasinski was decorated for his gallantry, and 
has been in England. 

Among the female portion of Korwin Krasinski's family, Countess 
Sigismond Krasinska is one of the best, and for charity and kindness 
has a reputation equal to that which the honourable Mrs. Hamilton 
enjoys, near Worcester, and Misses Harris and Lowther, near White- 

See ancient edition of Niesiecki, Sarnicki, Konstytucye Xieztwa 
Mazowieckiego, Akta, Woievrodztwa, Plockiego, Rozmaitosci, Wegi- 
erckie i Szlaskie, &c. &c. 

T. C. JOHNS, Wine Office-court, Fleet-street. 



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